A couple of weeks ago, my youngest informed us that she was running for president. Personally, I have never been interested in politics, but as a parent it seemed appropriate to ask some questions.
"Why do you want to be El Jefe," I asked her.
Drew: "I thought it would be neat, and (she pauses to read my facial expressions), I like responsibility."
"I hadn't noticed," I replied, "but then you do enjoy safety patrol and are quick to speak up in defense of other children. But, do you think a president is more about title or being the servant of all?"
More reading of body language.
Drew: "You should be the servant, and lead by example.?.?.?"
"So, who won the election last year, and what was their platform?"
Drew: "A boy who played the song, 'What does the fox say,' and danced around."
I looked that up. I really wish I hadn't, but I am a curious person, like the cat, not like the fox.
"Drew, what does el Presidente do at your school? What are these responsibilities you mentioned?"
"Represent the school, and go to meetings. I like going to meetings."
"Wow! Are you sure you're my daughter? Maybe I should send you to some of my meetings. How do things get done and what role do you play?"
Drew: "Dad, its more about popularity, I guess, until you get the job."
"So they haven't really laid out any expectations for the candidates, or explained government, student or other?"
Drew: "No, but you get to go to meetings."
"Well, I envy you're ability to put yourself out there like that, and your lack of fear. Whether you win or lose, I would like to talk about this more, but I'm proud of you for not being scared to get involved."
She asked me to help her write her speech, and I did, but I used a quote from George MacDonald, which seemed to pass over everyone's head.
"It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen."
Drew decided to take it out and we sat down to rewrite her speech, making it more her own. We talked about what it meant, and that it was unfortunate that politics had become no longer just the vehicle to your job. It was sketchy at best even under those terms, but it is now in most venues the job itself. I told I wanted her to not just run, but run with purpose, to have a goal in mind. She should never be afraid to admit that she was wrong or doesn't know the answer to something. Being president should me something, you should really be a servant of the people you represent, and never lose sight of the individual. I know she's only 10 and in her mind this would just be cool, but I'm her father and it's important to me that she does her best. There are enough people out there who pride themselves on being able to make a decision; I want her to strive to make the right ones. We talked about adults and how they vote, but unfortunately the example was not much better there. There were college students who said they supported Hillary Clinton running for president next election, and when asked what it was about her platform that they liked the most. You know, what she stood for and all that craziness. The answer was unanimously that we had never had a woman president before, and it would be cool. Wow, again! It should never be about being the first woman; it should be about being the right person for the job, man or woman. There should be genuineness, a heart for the people and a government by the people. You're only 10, I know, but we'll continue this conversation. I proud that you are wanting to understand, but just don't learn how to play the game, and good luck with your presentation. You're definitely my favorite candidate.