Since I’m a self-confessed news junkie, it’s probably not surprising that my 10-year-old son gets exposed to a lot of TV news. Yes I know, there are some parents who feel that’s probably inappropriate; in our house it provides many opportunities to discuss some of life’s Bigger Issues. As I recently discovered, it also leads the Big-Eyed Boy to think about things we assume he’s not interested in.
Take yesterday, for example. I turned on CNN’s Headline News (which, on the weekends, is almost non-stop Clark Howard) to keep me company during a marathon cooking session. While having a snack at the table my son and I both had to hear one political ad after another, this being the final days before the 2010 Midterm Election. After the third attack ad my son reached for the remote and hit the Mute button.
“Mom,” he said, “all last week our school held assemblies about bullying because of those kids who got bullied and killed themselves.”
“Uh-huh,” I replied, only half-listening because I was busily measuring out various ingredients to make bread.
“They said bullying isn’t just punching or kicking,” he continued. “It happens when someone says or writes mean things about another person, or spreads rumors. There’s even a website about it.”
“That’s nice,” I told him, dumping ingredients into the stand mixer.
“So why is it okay for all of these politicians to bully each other?” he wanted to know. “Aren’t they supposed to be setting examples for us kids?”
Really, what IS a parent supposed to say? I explained that adults know these ads aren’t telling the whole story, that they’re really designed to sell us on a candidate so their claims are often exaggerated, if not downright lies.
He thought about this as he polished off the last of his snack. Then he said, “Kind of like that Fushigi ball I ordered because they said it was magic but it turned out to be an expensive piece of junk?”
“Exactly like that, dear.”
Needless to say, the TV is off in our house until Wednesday. And I, for one, can’t say I’m going to miss it at all.