Thursday, April 03, 2003

Government appreciation

My husband and I have kept the war pretty much out of our conversation with the kids at home -- details only when they ask, which is hardly ever, and least of all the politics of war support and dissent. But I guess not everyone's taking that tack. This afternoon, when our 7-year-old niece came to stay with us after school, almost the first words out of her mouth were a very cheerful, "I hate George Bush!" When I asked her where she got that, she said, "My mommy! I hate George Bush because he got us into a war!" She then started to rattle off what she'd heard about the war lately, but I cut her off. War analysis is pretty much inescapable for grown-ups these days; I don't need to get it from second-graders.

Free speech is a glorious thing, but although I may have had my reservations about this war and this president, it bugged me to have a child so blithely dissing our leader. (And shouldn't she at least be hating Saddam Hussein, too?) If you'd like to build up your own personal child's respect for at least some aspect of the federal government, the Federal Government Kids' Page lists youngsters' pages for many government agencies, from usual suspects like NASA and the Forest Service to such unlikely entries as the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the CIA (check out the decoder game!). And of course, there's always If they can't stand the commander in chief, they can take the tour hosted by his dog instead.

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