Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The State of the Union, According to My Six-Year-Old

After winning the Super Bowl on Madden 11, something I’ve done twice now (thank you), I witnessed something that shocked me. Following the postgame, on field celebrations, complete with virtual Roger Goddell, I found my team standing on the front lawn of the White House, shaking hands with the President. And it was actually the President! That’s right, Barrack Obama shook my players’ hands and my quarterback handed him a custom team jersey with OBAMA sewn onto the back.

This freaked me out a little. Not because I don’t agree with his health care policies or because I have any ill will toward the man, but because I hold a great deal of respect for the Presidency. This leaves me feeling skeptical about whether our Commander in Chief should have his likeness appear in a video game.

All that aside, the second time I won (because I’m awesome and won twice, did you get that?) I knew the Presidential congrats were imminent. Knowing my sons recognize Barrack Obama almost as immediately as Bear Grylls or Will Ferrell, I called them to see what was about to take place.

“Hey guys, come see this! Daddy won the Super Bowl and Barrack Obama is going to shake my team’s hands!”

My eldest came running up the stairs, but he was skeptical and expressed his disbelief. Oddly enough, he insisted on doing so before he crossed the threshold into the room.

“You’re lying,” he said as he leaned in the doorway, as if stepping in would mean he had fallen into some sort of nefarious trap I’d set for him. Like I was concocting some crazy story just to get him upstairs so I could force him to clean his room. Like I would do that. I’ve done it to get him to bring me a beer before, but never something that bad.

Eventually, I convinced him to come in but his little brother was nowhere to be found. So we called down to him again. We explained that I was telling the truth and no obligation to perform boring chores was attached.

“I don’t want to see Barrack Obama,” he called up to us. “He doesn’t even care about people.”

In my heart, I knew the only people you can be certain any politician cares about are themselves. But I generally avoid talking politics, even with my wife and loyal blog readers so I wasn’t about to start with my six-year-old. My sons are not at an age to dislike their President and I hold no agenda which inspires me to breed distrust or rebellion against him.

Instead of launching into a lesson on narcissism or a manifesto, I said, “Of course he cares about people. He wouldn’t have wanted to be President if he didn’t care about people.”

He still refused to come up. I didn’t push it. I won the Super Bowl before and I’m sure I’ll win the Super Bowl again. He can have another chance to see it then and hopefully he and Barrack will have buried the hatchet by then.

I did begin to wonder, however, which classmate’s dad talks politics in front of them. Whoever it is obviously doesn’t like Barrack Obama.

I say dad because, let’s face it, dads say stupid stuff in front of their kids way more often than moms do. This is a fact of life. Verbally shooting yourself in the foot is a trait linked to the Y chromosome.

Your kid repeats a swear word at school? Dad’s fault. Your child knows a little too much about the effects of alcohol consumption? Look to pops. Did a secret nasty nickname for a teacher or obnoxious relative get outside your circle of trust? Fathers’ lips sink ships.

So, parents (ahem…dads) please keep your political opinions to yourselves around your kids. First grade is not the place to sow the seeds of discontent with our government. You aren’t breeding the next generation of Republican voters, you’re just keeping my son from beholding the benefits of my awesome video game football skills. That’s un-American.

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