Judy Spooner Viewpoint: Kids offer frank views on presidency
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
I went to Adventure Camp last week in Woodridge Park hosted by Cottage Grove Parks and Recreation. Since the presidential campaign is in full swing, I talked with a group of kids about qualities a U.S. president should have.
I wasn’t surprised to find that kids are sometimes wiser than adults. From their comments, it’s clear to me that, even if you have doubts, kids are listening and developing into good citizens.
If any of you are running for office, feel free to take notes.
I asked them if it matters if the president is a man or woman. They looked at me as if I had asked them a ridiculous question. “No,” said the next generation of voters.
How about religion? I asked. Doesn’t matter, they said. But a president shouldn’t say one religion is better than another, according to 11-year-old Morgan Rice. “He should also have a good attitude,” she said.
Greta Kirsch, age 6, said a president should be “really nice.”
Ingrid Granlund, also 11, said a good president should think about other people more than himself. In other words, I said, he or she should put other people’s needs ahead of his or her own interests, and the kids agreed.
“He should know what’s happening to normal people like the people who live on my block,” Ingrid said. She also believes a president should travel to other countries and ask their opinions about important issues.
Instead of just making a rule for people, a good president should talk to the people and get their opinions, according to 11-year-old Andrew Paulus, and not make promises he can’t keep.
After some thought, and a suggestion by Ingrid, kids agreed that a president should have a college degree and know a lot about American history. It’s important to know what happened in the past, they said.
A president should be like President John F. Kennedy, according to Andrew. He knew how to make things better, he said. He was loyal and went out to meet the people.
Kids don’t believe political television ads. “They should show people who they really are.” Morgan said.
Morgan was quiet for a time but I could tell she was mulling over something. Nearly interrupting while Andrew was talking, she said a president needs a good sense of humor.
“And not just work all the time,” Andrew chimed in.
The kids said that it’s very important that a president be “good with money” and not spend a lot of money on stuff for the White House that he doesn’t really need.
When I asked Ryan Granlund, age 5, what makes a good president, he couldn’t think of anything to say at first.
“My brain is kind of rusty,” he said with hands covering his head as if to illustrate his point.
I asked him if it’s important for a president to be smart or honest. “Honest,” he said without hesitation.
I asked them what the government should spend money on. Health care, health research, shelters and education, they said.
Those things are on my list, too, I told them.