Last year, a political ad for Mitt Romney came on TV (here in NH, you simply can’t escape them). I muttered under my breath, “Oh, just shut up you jerk!” I didn’t think my daughter had overheard me.
But of course, she did…
“Mommy, why don’t you like that man?”
“Honey, it’s hard to explain in a way you’d understand. He’s running for president, and I don’t want him to win.”
After inquiring what a President is, and does, and my doing my best to offer to my not-quite-six-year-old daughter a basic explanation of the U.S. Presidency (nothing like a little “Poli-Sci on the Fly” for the Kindergarten set!!)
She then said, “OK, but why don’t you like him?”
I paused, trying desperately to think about how to explain to her in a simple way why I don’t like Mitt Romney.
“There are a lot of reasons, hon, and like I said, it’s difficult for me to explain in a way you’ll understand.”
“Just try, Mom…give me three reasons why you don’t like him.”
“How about one?” I asked hopefully…and racked my brains for the appropriate verbiage for a six year old. Finally, I said,
“Mr. Romney doesn’t think that women can do the same things as men can do.”
“Well, that’s silly,” she said, her face showing that she was not especially impressed. Then she brightened, “Daddy knows girls can do whatever boys can do!”
“Yes, he does, honey…”
“Is that why you married him?” she asked.
“Well, it’s one of the many reasons that I married him,” I responded.
She gave me a big hug, “That man isn’t very smart. And I don’t think he should be in charge of our country either…everyone should know that girls are just as good as boys at LOTS of things!”
Keep in mind, this is the same wise child that took it upon herself to teach her little brother about different kinds of families, not that long ago.
I only hope that I can keep teaching her to be accepting of others, to always keep her mind open and to think critically about the world around her. It’s sure to be a bigger challenge with each passing year.