Don't worry about Obama's speechRecently on “The Dennis Miller Show,” a radio caller argued that we need to tax the very rich even more.
By: Betsy Hart, The Dickinson Press
Recently on “The Dennis Miller Show,” a radio caller argued that we need to tax the very rich even more. To paraphrase, Miller told him: Hey, I’m probably one of those guys. What more do you want from me?
Caller: I don’t want anything from you.
Miller: Meet me at a cafe, bring your kids along and I’ll hand over whatever money you want.
Caller: No, I don’t want money from you.
Miller: Yes, you do and I’m serious that I will give you money. You just need to show up with your family and I will dole it out to you.
Caller: I don’t want it from you ... the government should tax you more.
Dennis: I’ll bring crisp $100 bills of my hard-earned money.
Caller: I don’t want the money from you!
This is a real world object lesson in clear thinking. On Miller’s part. The caller wants to believe that the government creates wealth. Of course, government does not create wealth, it can only redistribute it from other real people. This is exactly the kind of argument I enjoy having my kids think through.
On the other hand, I wasn’t at all concerned about President Obama’s speech to school kids last week — even though I disagree with him on so much. For starters, he is the president. We do live in a Republic. It seems to me if he’s making a speech to children, the children ought to give him the respect of listening whether or not there are policy proposals in the speech. (I love the current health care debate, too. Wow, does it offer lessons not just on policy and populism, but on fundamental differences in how people view the role of government.)
Anyway, what’s all the fear about when it comes to our kids? It seems to me more parents need to be more confident that we can help our children learn to think wisely. Whatever “the world” thinks.
When I was a younger mom, I was far more concerned than I am now about my children being exposed to the “world’s” philosophy and values. But my fears have lessened as I’ve found my children often soundly thinking through arguments, and their logic, faster than I do.
I hope that’s because in my home I have typically engaged my children in discussions about their world, and human nature, and popular culture, and God and government and you name it. I haven’t “protected” them much from other viewpoints on these issues.
Now you can bet I’m coming from a distinct point of view myself. But as long as my children know why I think as I do, as long as they see me respond graciously to those who differ, they seem to respect and understand my values.
They also see that I’m confident enough in my beliefs that I’m not afraid to be challenged. It’s a source of delight to them that I will engage on topics other homes that share our general views sometimes won’t.
We talk about it all — from politics to religious views to sexual topics to the popular culture to global warming to certain (redeeming) “R” rated movies they are allowed watch to those oh-so-tacky Cialis male enhancement commercials that air during news shows. Now I make judgments, all right. They just know how, and why and on what basis I make the judgments that I do.
Of course, I firmly believe there is a place for protecting our kids from corrupt thinking or a valueless culture. But in general, in my house I’m more likely to engage on differences than to shut them out.
I think that helps to give my children the tools they need to think more clearly themselves. To enage their world, not shrink from it. Sure, they already disagree with me sometimes. The older we all get, likely the more disagreements there will be. I just expect them to be clear thinking — and gracious about them.
— Hart hosts the “It Takes a Parent” radio show on WYLL-AM 1160 in Chicago. Reach her through email@example.com.