Sometimes I wonder whose children these actually are. Just last week my 15-year-old son had the opportunity, and my permission, to leave West High, walk east on Regent Street and head up to Bascom Hill for, perhaps, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a sitting president live and in person. He didn't take it. This came on the heels of the same kid attempting to turn the channel during last week's presidential debate to watch the final day of regular-season major league baseball. Really? Months of all-family discussions about rights and recalls, yet he'd rather listen to John Kruk babble on about Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown?
But I guess in some ways a parent can't necessarily expect that their children will inherit an interest in politics. Sure, we can bring them to rallys, pin buttons on their backpacks and let them draw the lines to finish the arrows in voting booths. But I just haven't figured out how to force the excitement to go along with it.
I encouraged my 10-year-old daughter, for instance, to run for student council this year. It seemed like a great chance to gain a few leadership skills, feel empowered and get a taste for public service. I had loved student council, perhaps too much, when I was a kid -- you could argue I was the original Tracy Flick. But my daughter wanted nothing to do with it. "Mom," she said. "All the kids running will say things like 'If I'm elected I'll make sure recess is 20 minutes longer and will try to get Gatorade into all the water fountains.' It's not like a fifth grader in student government can actually make that stuff happen."
For her, the election felt like a bunch of empty promises. Kind of sad to be so jaded, if not right, while still in elementary school.
And sometimes I am reminded that there aren't even any guarantees on which way the pendulum will swing when it comes to a child's eventual political persuasion. A couple weekends back my middle son went clothes shopping with my mom. He didn't come back from the mall with a new hoodie, skinny jeans or whatever else 12-year-old boys are wearing these days. No, the only purchase he came home with was a pink necktie. A Donald Trump Signature necktie to be exact. If there is a clothing item that screams future conservative Republican more loudly, I have no idea what it is.
I guess I understand the apathy and disillusionment. They've seen Governor Walker withstand a recall despite just about every adult they know signing the petition. They don't understand why they can see back-to-back political ads for opposing candidates that completely contradict each other. They've heard me say, "Just let it go to voicemail" when the fifth fundraising call, in the span of an hour, shows up on Caller ID during dinnertime.
I asked my son why he didn't take me up on my offer to skip class and head downtown to catch a glimpse of the President. He told me that he didn't want to miss history, his favorite class.
I guess he'd rather study history than try to make it.
And he's only 15 he reminded me, still three more years until he's old enough to vote, anyway.
Which, come to think of it, is the next Presidential election. Yikes, I've got some work to do.
Are your kids manning phone banks and passing out flyers yet? Have they been engaged and involved in the upcoming election?comments powered by Disqus
You may call them "play dates," but I like the term "mom dates," especially since my kids are still too young to really care that there's another small person to squabble over toys with.
If there is an excuse for not working out and eating healthy, I have used it: I don't have time. I'm too tired. I'll start tomorrow. I'm no good at this, I give up. I don't know where to start. Yes, I have used all of these and more.
At almost a year old, my kids are in the blissful stage of life where they'll eat nearly anything that I put in front of them (at least as long as it doesn't require much in the way of molar action).
My family recently went through something that we have not experienced in over eight years. We have become a household that no longer harbors a crib or a changing table.
"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.
I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.
I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.
Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.
At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.
Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"
After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?
As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.
The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.
I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?
Lily the potbellied pig arrived at Heartland Farm Sanctuary blind, lethargic and too overweight to walk. The children of Heartland's summer day camp program took it upon themselves to put the curl back in her tail.
Is it just me or does each summer seem to go by quicker than the last? The end of summer is upon us and for many families this means the start of a new school year.
This past week, on the way to the grocery store, my daughter asked what I believed she thought would be a innocuous question, "Mom, when are we going back-to-school shopping?"
Volunteering with the Young Writers Summer Camp this past week really helped me to remember how utterly creative kids can be when encouraged to come up with their own ideas and use their own words.
This past week I gleefully accepted an offer for new job on the UW-Madison campus. My kids are getting are older and I guess I've felt for a while now that it was time to figure out what would be next for me on the professional front.