Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Mimisms ~ Baby Boy Goes Political

Suddenly everyone is a politician. Even Baby Boy! The last time we had a serious conversation that warranted this look, we were talking about the day he was  mercilessly chased by two girls in kindergarten who wanted a piece of his heart. We dodged that bullet. It will soon be time for 4th grade - yes, I said 4th! - how did he grow up so fast? Because when I looked at him this weekend I was astonished at the broad shoulders, the filled-out face, and the maturity I saw. But I wasn't prepared for...

"Hey Mimi, did you hear about the secrets?"
What secrets?
You know, the secrets that the President knows because of that man.
What man?
The man who found out about the secrets.
**secrets presidents man presidents secrets**
Oh, you mean Edward Snowden. 
Yep. He told President Obama how to know everything we do.
Ummm..Baby Boy, I think you may have some things mixed up in a chicken-and-egg kinda way, but do go on.

So, Baby Boy, what happened to Edward Snowden?
He had to leave because he knew the secrets and the President didn't like him and now everybody is mad at him because he told the truth.

So where is he now?
Somewhere, Mimi, I don't know.
In Russia, Baby Boy, he's in Russia.
Oh yeah.

**a shaking of the 4th grade head**
But I like him! 
'Cause he did the right thing.
He told the truth. you are assuming it's that simple.
It is simple, Mimi.
How so?
Do you want the president listening to your mail?
He can now, Mimi!!

So the voice of devil's advocate reasoning (that would be me) and the voice that wants him to think for himself and ask all the questions all the time (all the time, Baby Boy, I told you to ask questions!!) said: So could every other president in history if they wanted to, Baby Boy, not just this president. This didn't start overnight. It's been going on a long time. You can't judge either one of them until all the facts come out. Think about it. Think for yourself. 
But inside I am saying...
Who have you been talking to, Baby Boy? Did you teacher tell you that? Did your best friend Colin tell you that? How do you know who is telling the truth, Edward Snowden or the President? And how did you just boil this down so simply for me in your wide-eyed way so that I now have to think about it on a lovely Saturday afternoon? How did you DO that? Are you watching those crazy cartoon people on cable again? Are you listening to me?  And thinking to myself that in a 9-year-olds mind it must seem that simple. Your parents tell you to always tell the truth. So naturally, you're going to gravitate to the celebrated and politically-slanted-unbeknownst -to-you opinion of truth-telling whenever you hear the term. No matter which nutcase you are listening to. Nine-year-olds can't discern the in-betweens, the motivations, or the politics. They just hear the voices. Then they repeat the voices they hear. And the voices they trust. Most of which are staring at them from a 40" LCD screen or hand-held money-motivated deliverer of "news" 24/7 every waking minute of their digital lives.  It's that simple. And it's that scary. Had Sponge Bob been exiled for refusing to wear round pants, we'd be having a conversation about how to stay true to your squareness and still maintain your dignity. But I digress.
**a shaking of the pencil head** 

I told you about the Internet a long time ago.  You give up privacy when you choose to communicate this way.
 It's just a fact of life.
Well I don't like it!!
**worried that confusing hearsay from surrounding adults and snippets from some cable news guy has become his moral compass but proud that he asserts his chicken-and-egg opinion anyway, the voice of reason said: **
Well, we'll get a new president in a few years and he/she will have to deal with all this too.
Maybe he'll just decide to drop out before then.
Who? What?
President Obama. 
He can't drop out, Baby Boy, he's not in a race, he's in the middle of his term. It's not like at school when you decide to drop out of the play or the off the team. But why do you want him to quit?!
Because he's listening on the phone and...and...
Instead of playing on your iPad today, why don't you just pick up the Etch-A-Sketch.

 I don't think it's bugged.
 OK, Mimi.

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The Gal Herself said...

Oh, this made me sad. Context is everything, and he can't possibly get that. And he shouldn't have to. Not now! Not at this age. Not on a sunny summer day.

Mark In Mayenne said...

Ah Mimi, give him the foundations of the fundamental, simple truths and let him discover the grey areas for himself

Akelamalu said...

They grow up so quickly, it's frightening. :0

speedyrabbit said...

out of the mouths of babes!...

Mimi Lenox said...

I know guys, what to say what to say...but you have to address it with kids. This crisis and every other thing that rears its ugly head and taints the world they live in. I wish it weren't so. But it is.

Travis Cody said...

Such a difficult balance. At 9, is it too soon to reason things out in shades of grey?

Yes, young man...always tell the truth, no matter what.

No, young man...discretion can sometimes be your friend.

Yes and no, young man...sometimes truth must be withheld completely or parceled out in pieces with a larger picture in mind.

How and when do you communicate those complex ideas to a child without coloring his judgment with yours?

Mimi Lenox said...

Exactly, Travis. But I have faith in Baby Boy. He has a good mind. And a beautiful heart.

CountryDew said...

The areas of gray are really where we need to be, and so few of us are. There really are no blacks and whites or absolutes, and now that we've forgotten that lesson as a country we must learn it all over again. The middle ground and the grays are the foundations of reality.

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