No Brainwashing, I Promise.

Look at these pics I took this morning. He insisted on wearing my Obama cap to school today. I would have been kind of worried about him offending the kids, except he took a poll yesterday and every single kid in his class “is voting for Obama.” Every. single. one.

OK. Except one who declared “both.” Clearly the rebel of their class.

In My Obama Cap

With Our Obama Yard Sign

I have a total political-freak-in-training on my hands.

But the boy wasn’t always so intellectually engaged.

Just this past weekend he seriously asked me the difference between Obama and McCain.

“No, really, Mama. What is the difference between them?”

Which lead to a long and detailed discussion on a 1st grade level about the economy, health care, the war, the environment and various other subjects. I am not joking. I kept trying to give him one-liners but he really wanted to know the deets.

In the end he said, “I agree with Obama. I would vote for him.”

Good man.

This article has 37 comments

  1. zipper

    Good man, indeed.

  2. Sizzle

    You’re raising a smart kid!

  3. Adventures In Babywearing

    y Noah came home the other day excited to ask me “Do you know that man Obama? He’s a lefty! Isn’t that cool!?” (Noah’s lefthanded, too.)

    Steph

  4. Bridge

    Good luck mom, I had me one once upon a time until he figured out that Ralph Nader was not actually Darth Nader, you know Darth Vader”s nice brother?

    Just kidding, he is totally precious. I love the hat. Keep the hope.

  5. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Alphadaddy, is that Musgrave? Don’t get me started!!!!

  6. carrie

    How is it he looks to mature all of a sudden?

    Must be his awesome political upbringing! ūüėČ

  7. alphadaddy

    I can’t tell you how excited it makes me that your state is not bright red on the map these days.

    I give your son permission to take a few days off school and go campaign in the ‘burbs..especially over in that second district of yours that we’re hearing so much about.

    Come on Colorado!

  8. alphadaddy

    sorry..FOURTH district.

  9. Catherine

    Same with my kids. They are SO into this election. I went to an Obama volunteer meeting last night, and my daughter called me from her dad’s while I was there. I silenced the call and texted her to tell her where I was at. She responded with a bunch of exclamation points and, “Tell me everything when it’s over!” They really pump me up.

    I hear that the Scholastic Kids voting has only been wrong twice since its inception back in… I wanna say the forties? Anyway, Obama won by what I would consider a landslide. Kismet!

  10. Anonymous

    adorable pics!

  11. GreenCanary

    If only all voters would think so critically about our candidates!

  12. Mary

    What a sweetheart!

  13. Becky

    YAHOO!

    I have hope for their generation. My son asked if he could vote for Obama with me on November 4th. I said “Honey, you have to be 18” He said “Well how would they know?” Um, you’re REALLY short.

  14. painted maypole

    could you please write a post wherein you explain the difference between the candidates on a 1st grade level, because I could use that to talk to my 6 year old about it. oh. and I whole bunch of people at my church.

    ūüėČ

  15. Jenni Jiggety

    He is SUPER cute and I love his sweater!

  16. Lisa

    whether you are voting for Obama or McCain, the bottom line is that your child should NOT be wearing a hat, t-shirt, or other article of clothing with any political affiliation on it to school.

  17. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    I definitely see your point that children should not be a billboard for their parents views. However, I can tell you that our son is most definitely an “old soul,” in that he understands things well beyond his years. That is not just my opinion, many people who know him feel that way. In the post, I didn’t go far into the details of our conversation, but I can assure it was a long conversation, at least 30 minutes, honestly not the first we have had about the differences between the candidates. And while, yes, we are staunch Obama supporters, I explained the reasons why people liked McCain’s views on the issues as well, and left it up to him to think about.

    HOWEVER even if he didn’t, I still believe in having these conversations, well before a child turns 13. I remember going into the voting booth with my mother my entire life, and while she mostly voted Republican and even now we sometimes disagree on issues (although she is an Obama supporter this time around) – the point is she showed me the value of voting and how important it is to be involved in the process. Now, again, we would never send Declan in a shirt that was anti-McCain because that is disrespectful.

    In addition, his school itself is teaching the kids about the political process. I was polled by several 3rd graders about whether kids should be allowed to vote (for the record, I answered no, Bryan answered yes) – that was one of their *assignments* from class. Another friend in 4th grade, he child was assigned to watch the DNC and RNC and write a report.

    So, net net, the climate felt like we were OK for him to wear it, and in general, I feel like children are never too young to start the dialog.

  18. Auds at Barking Mad

    He’s adorable!

    This post made me intensely curious as to whether our school district has any sort of guidelines for this sort of thing. Sure enough, they do. No political buttons, hats, stickers, clothing, or other memorabilia is allowed because it’s considered distracting. If a child comes to school wearing anything from the above list, if it can be confiscated until the end of the day it will. If it’s a T-shirt, the child will be asked to change into a gym t-shirt, or a parent will be called to bring the child an “appropriate change of clothing.”

    Wow, those are my tax dollars at work!

    I should’t be surprised though…this is the same school district that refused, REFUSED to rank my daughter last year, or let her graduate with honours, (although she’s maintained a STRAIGHT A 4.0 GPA all four years of high school!!!) because she was a transfer student from another state.

    Thank God we’re selling our house. Well, if it’s worth anything any more, when all is said and done!

    As far as my personal opinion. I suppose I can see the point about it being distracting at some level. For older kids perhaps; who are able to grasp the concepts and implications. For younger, primary-school aged kids? Not so much.

    I would hope, despite whatever dress code the schools in our nation, impose, that they still welcome the discussion of what’s going on, and of politics in general. This election alone is so historical on multiple levels, that it would be a real shame if they weren’t talking about it in classrooms across the nation.

  19. Keely

    Interesting. My husband plan on teaching/exposing our children to various viewpoints. They’ll obviously be exposed to our ideas, but they’ll also be given the information they need to make their own decisions.

    I think it’s great that Declan is so interested in politics and that he asks so many questions. I think it is awesome that he is forming his own opinions and asking to wear your hat and show his pride/maturity.

    I also find it interesting when parents say that what one parent allows their child to do undermines their own parenting. Really? Let’s face it – our kids are going to be exposed daily to things we might not like: drugs, sex, violence. I feel it’s our responsibility as parents to parent our own kids and be there when questions come up. I feel like when those questions come up we should use that as an opportunity to have an open dialogue.

  20. CrookedPigtails

    As long as the shirt/hat/pin is pro a canidate, and not anti the other canidate, it is perfectly acceptable to wear to school.

    The elementary school my girls attend is participating in a national mock election–every child in the school (K-5th) will be allowed to cast a vote, they will then be able to compare thier results with the acutal results.

    Already, the girls (ages 5 and 8)are coming home with wonderful thought provoking questions, during the next few weeks they will make posters, hold debates, receive visits from local politicians, and learn grade appropriate lessons surrounding the election process.

    We can’t expect them to understand the issues, but we must try to teach them to think for themselves. I love that Declan wanted to wear your hat to school; more importantly, I love that you let him.

  21. Tootsie Farklepants

    Lisa,

    You state that “Any child under the age of 13 or so doesn’t have the capability to comprehend real world activity”… and then you say: “if another child showed up to school wearing something with any type of political message on it. It undermines what parents may or may not be teaching at home and it’s a very real distraction.”

    How can it be distracting if they don’t know what it is?

    How can a political shirt or hat undermine what parents teach at home? It does nothing of the kind. It does, however, give you an opportunity to talk to your child and reinforce your values.

  22. TX Poppet

    greed, children are never too young. Unfortunately in today’s very uncivil political climate, I don’t think I’d let mine wear political clothing. Too many kooks who might attack my babes. As for our school district? Banned in all schools. Rather sad when we are always pounding our chests and proclaiming our political freedom as a nation, no? By the way, the boy couldn’t be any cuter. Cute as a bug. A ‘Bama Bug.

  23. laurie

    There is political paraphernalia everywhere. I don’t see how it undermines what a parent is teaching in the home just because it’s at school. And no offense, but it would have taken a lot more than a hat to undermine my parents’ influence on me.

    Isn’t it better to expose a child to real peer interactions early, so they can figure out what it’s like to agree and disagree by turns? The teachable moment for the parent is if they come home and talk about it and you – perhaps? or maybe don’t? – tell them that it’s wrong or what to think according to your own value system? (at least that’s what I’m reading here.)

    I’d be more concerned about the swearing and bullying that goes on, personally, or the kid sitting next to mine with a stupid t-shirt on that said any of the ridiculously suggestive phrases that seem to be widely accepted no matter how old the child. Or a Slipknot hat. Eek. ūüėČ And being part of that notoriously disengaged Gen-X group, I say, “Cool. Try it on for size. And by the time you’re of age to vote, at least you’ll know how to think critically.”

    I wore uniforms for 12 years, Amy, and am quite jealous of Declan’s ability to express himself at this early date. Yay for him and for you for celebrating his individuality.

  24. Anonymous

    Hmmm. Toughie. I see both sides. I think I would probably not allow it, but also not be bothered if someone else did it.

  25. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    All good points, interesting conversation – thanks to all for your input!!!

  26. Bryan

    Why not wear to school? I can understand if it creates a distraction in class or causes problems, but if it can create a healthy awareness of our world, without issues or distractions, what wrong with wearing it to school?

    If you can’t wear political items, should you be able to wear any other marketing items from Coke, Nike, or the hot new video game or movie?

    Or how about the previously political but now Gap commercialized cultural images representing Che Guevera, Solidarity, or Apartheid? I’ve met way too many people who wore a Che t-shirt without a clue to who he was. Even Che isn’t Che anymore. Where do you draw that line?

    I’m not saying you are not right, you may be. But I’d like to hear reasons why. I could be missing some important details. You can contact me through me@hardtoforget.net if you want.

    I think everyone should be involved in thinking about our leadership and issues that effect our community. Even kids. They can sometimes cut to the basic point of an issue very quickly. Sometimes they miss the point entirely, but that is OK too. It’s more important for them to learn to think critically about the world around them, and feel that they do have an active role to play.

    They should not be used as tools simply to express a parent’s opinion, though. Kids will do what their parents tell them just to make the parents happy, but I don’t think that is what is going on here.

    Anyway, love the dialog from everyone and diversity of opinions out there! Healthy communication is good for us all.

    B out.

  27. fruitlady

    Ciaran wore an Obama Biden button to school today. He asked if it was allowed and I said I didn’t know why it wouldn’t be. If anything it may spark a nice political discussion in his class. But if the teacher thought it was creating too much distraction I assume he would ask Ciaran to take the button off and put it in his backpack. I agree with Bryan,I would like to hear the reasoning as to why you wouldn’t be able to wear the hat…

  28. Lisa

    Any child under the age of 13 or so doesn’t have the capability to comprehend real world activity. You can explain to your child why one man would be better for the job of commander-in-chief but they are likely to form the same opinion as you, since they don’t know how to fully think for themselves and develop their own opinions.

    I have 2 children in elementary school and would be very upset if another child showed up to school wearing something with any type of political message on it. It undermines what parents may or may not be teaching at home and it’s a very real distraction. I don’t think any parent should allow their child to advertise what their political views are on their children.

    I know others might disagree with me, but the sign in your yard, or on your car is your way of showing support. Your children shouldn’t be used as the same.

  29. kerrianne.org

    I love those pictures of him. Very good man, indeed.

  30. bryan

    I agree with you that parents shouldn’t use their children to to advertise their own views- I think I commented on that.

    I disagree on the *comprehend* and *think for themselves* points. The kids I know are amazingly aware of the real world around them. Their compassion and empathy is astounding, much more alert than that of many adults. They are forming and revising opinions all the time as they learn what is right and wrong, or more precisely, what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. I think it is important to be able to form an opinion the best you can, and be ready to compare and if necessary revise it when you get new information.

    Do I expect a child to understand the intricacies of foreign policy or health care reform? No. Most adults, including myself don’t understand that. But trying to understand and being ready to hear an opposing point of view are important skills to learn at any age, in my opinion.

    As far as undermining and distraction, I have to respectfully disagree again. To me, new ideas are not dangerous threats- they feed the mind, and allow us to think critically, learn, and grow. My son will often come home and ask me what something he saw during the day means. Why it happened. He wants to make sense of the world around him, and sometimes, it really doesn’t. Sometimes there are no answers. I’m not sure if there is anyplace you can go in the world without being exposed to someone else’s opinion or point of view.

    Seems like we come from different sides on this one, so Disagreement Valley is where it will live. Thanks for your reply! Hopefully we don’t go to the same school! ūüėČ

    B out.

  31. Missy Wiggins

    Well. I may be your only McCain supporter commenting (just a feeling I suppose) but I think I would be okay with wearing political items to school. The only problem I see with it is letting a child wear other political clothing such as the onesies they sell that say, “I’m pro-choice” That’s pretty tacky if you ask me…
    Anyway, I guess as long as the shirt/hat is positive, it should be allowed.

  32. Overflowing Brain

    I’m going to be perfectly honest and say that I have not read all the previous comments, however, I’m a teacher and I have an opinion on the political stuff in school, and sadly not a lot of time to read everything right now.

    I am a political person, but I don’t like kids wearing political affiliated gear to school.

    My issues are two:

    First, it’s disruptive. While some kids do understand the issues and can make an informed opinion, not all of them can. And if Joe sees Bobby wearing an Obama hat an his mother said that Obama was x, y, or z, then we have to have that discussion in my classroom. It seems silly, but it happens, even in high school.

    Second, I think that to a certain degree, it’s creating a sense of “coolness” were there ought not be one yet. I am all for raising the next generation of politically minded voters, who are active and participate fully in each election, however, in the 4th grade, about half those kids will pick a side purely because of the people in their lives, meaning their friend wearing a McCain shirt or their mother singing the praises of Biden. I’d rather wait, let them understand more fully the issues, and then bring politics in. It’s not that I think they can’t understand, more, I just don’t think they need to yet. I think that childhood innocence about these big world problems is kind of wonderful.

    That said, Obama is my man and I truly hope he wins this election. I’m also glad wants to be involved. I’m sure he’ll make an excellent voter in a few years.

  33. Sarah K

    I agree that it can be very distracting to wear political things to school. I can especially see this from the point of view of the teacher who commented. I think it is a tough call.
    I feel the need to comment on the one thing- of all the comments- that struck me the most however.
    This one…
    “Any child under the age of 13 or so doesn’t have the capability to comprehend real world activity.”
    Being a child and family therapist for the past 16 years, I would roundly dispute this statement. I have worked with children ages 4-13 and can attest that they have a great grasp of world activity, whether it be their family world, their school world or the greater world. Lots of children by the age of 13 have experienced illness, death, immigration and even war and are able to understand and process those experiences. It is doubtful any child development psychiatrist or psychologist would agree with that statement.

  34. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Sarah, I was hoping you would weigh in. Thanks so much.

    And again, I do see the point about it being distracting. And on that point, I wanted to make one more statement I think I never made clear. I let him wear the hat because I knew except for during recess and after school, it would go into his backpack. So I did actually consider the distraction factor. But I also agree with Bryan’s statements that there are many other things that kids wear to school that are also distractions.

    And finally, while I am a staunch Obama supporter, I thought I got across the point that someone wearing McCain gear to school would also be OK with me. It just so happens that our school is liberal.

  35. Lisa

    Let me ask this question… Would any of you, as parents, be so inclined to voice a pro-political voice if the tables were turned? If your child went to school and another classmate of theirs was wearing a Pro-McCain article of clothing? I seriously doubt it.

    Politics are something that children, no matter how mature, can’t fathom. They simply don’t understand, nor comprehend the complexity of it. If they have parents at home that lean one way or another, they will too lean that way.

    The distraction comes in when “Peter” goes to school wearing an Obama button and his classmate, little Johnny, dislikes Obama. This could invoke hurtful words slung on both sides and it’s simply not fair to put your child into a situation like that.

    In our house, we are pro-McCain. We talk politics at the dinner table and our children hear our conversations. They have drawn the conclusion that they too are McCain supporters. Why? Because their parents are. They have no idea the complexity of the election and my oldest is 10. It quite simply boils down to a parents point of view and I still stand behind the fact that I do not think it is appropriate at any age to bring politics into schools.

  36. Mollyfa

    Just last night we tried to explain the role of congress in our lives to our 2nd grader. i was shocked at how difficult it was to do. But isn’t it great that they are asking the questions.

  37. SoloMother

    LOL My King of Everything took it upon himself to make his own sign after witnessing the “Yes We Can” video on YouTube. He carried his “Pre-K for Obama” sign all the way down the streets of DC to his elementary school, where his Pre-K teacher propped it up against her desk until the end of the year. I’ve got to find those pictures!

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