"I almost got the impression that we would be better off if no one over 12 years of age was in charge."
I too "almost" got that impression. We can trust children to be more honest, simple and blunt about the truth, about what is important than adults? My gosh, the implications!
Think about the education of the fourth grade children to whom Ms. Lampe directed these sober questions. Think about their life experience. Think about the insight their lengthy lives have afforded them.
I couldn't help but think that this is part of the problem with our national conversation today.
We'd all like to take everything down to its most basic and simple foundation and decide whether it is right or wrong, whether it should be the ultimate priority or secondary.
What is interesting is that sometimes doing the things that you think will help someone isn't the thing that will help them in the long term.
I used to try to start garden plants inside the house in a sunny window. The seedlings would shoot up, sometimes spindly, sometimes seemingly healthy. What my experience was, however, was that the first time I set the tray of seedlings out on a sunny day the elements to which they'd never been exposed would kill them and it didn't seem to matter how spindly or healthy those plants seemed to be. They couldn't withstand the smallest wind because they had been so protected inside the house.
Likewise, my mother is in poor health. The most helpful thing to do would seem to be to make everything easy for her, make her comfortable, expect less of her, but in the long run doing those things has the opposite effect. Making things easy for her causes her to get weaker, rather than stronger, feel worse rather than better. I learned this from experience.
Sometimes the most simple things aren't the most healthy or the right things to do.
Children come up with simple ideas because, through no fault of their own, they are young and simple. I'm not saying children are stupid but certainly one could admit they are less than informed about complicated issues and therefore their solutions to the complicated problems that face our country and our world are overly simple. I expect an adult to consider the more complicated aspects of an issue.
"A good bit of my 31 years working with children was spent talking in order to teach ideas. The children I taught also taught me, however. When I stopped to listen to children's thoughts and ideas, I was always amazed at the clarity and truth of what they said. Children speak simply and honestly about what is right and what is wrong. I believe there are many lessons to learn from children if we stop to listen."
Considering that these children have been exposed to a teacher's ideas and that teachers have spent a great deal of time "talking in order to teach ideas" to these children, should it be a surprise that a teacher would be amazed when the teacher's ideas are repeated back in the simple and limited language of a fourth grade child? She certainly would be "amazed at the clarity and truth of what they said."
I was amazed at the juvenile thinking that went into Lampe's column. Of course we should listen to children, but to pretend that their opinions or voices are somehow more clear, truthful and honest and that they understand right and wrong better than adults or are more trustworthy than adults who have considered the complexities surrounding any particular issue is silly.
"The old expression, "Out of the mouths of babes" comes to mind. Children tell the truth, and the truth is sometimes hard to hear."
One would think so, especially when the one listening or a like minded teacher has put the words in the mouths of those babes or, at least, influenced their conclusions.
The words of children might be difficult to swallow by those who have put more in depth thought into the issues they are speaking about. Perhaps not because one disagrees with the foundational idea put forth in their words but because the adults listening realize the issue is more complicated than the fourth grade child can articulate or grasp and that there is no consensus on the best way to resolve those issues.
I would also add that what Lampe seems to celebrate when coming from simple children has oftentimes been written off when coming from political opponents of the Democrat party as too simple, as not considering the "shades of gray." Is Lampe attempting to disregard the complicated arguments put forth by more conservative adult voices by offering to over simplify the issues in reducing them to the foundational concepts of a fourth grade child? Interesting.