Like most kids, mine are largely oblivious to what is going on in the world. As long as they have clothes on their backs, food in their stomachs, and well-charged cell phones, they’re pretty much good to go.
As such, my husband and I usually watch the evening news together for what essentially boils down to thirty minutes of cherished “alone” time.
Over the years, I’ve done my best to preserve my sons’ innocence by shielding them from the violence and corruption that often permeates the news media. Right or wrong, I’d much prefer that their sleep not be disturbed by news of school shootings or the frailty of the economic recovery. What’s the sense in all of us being up at three in the morning?
As a result, with the exception of the occasional social studies assignment, they’ve had little interest in current affairs. But one topic has managed to sneak through - the fiscal cliff.
Like a bad infestation of termites, the topic has wormed its way into our dinner table conversations and bedtime prayers. When my ten year old asked what would happen if our country actually goes over the cliff, my husband waved him off with a smile and said, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll be fine.”
This response seemed to satisfy him, for a while.
Then he asked, “Where’s fiscal?”
Once I explained that fiscal was a financial term and not a place, his fear that the Lower 48 was about to slide over a massive cliff named “Fiscal” somewhere out in the dessert was abated. He donned his Batman cape and went on his merry way.
Calming our older boys, however, has not been as easy. As much as we have tried to convince them that the impending financial maelstrom will not have that large of an impact on us, their college plans are on the forefront of all of our minds. Our two oldest have their sites set on graduate school and our third son, a high school junior, is just starting to shop schools.
Here’s what worries me the most: the fact that, as citizens, we’re relegated to the sidelines like spectators at grand sporting match, years in the making. We watch helplessly, knowing that there is no possibility of victory for either side. We stare, mouths agape, as our elected officials stick their thumbs in their ears and blow raspberries across the aisles. With so much at stake, we can’t help but marvel at the bipartisan folly.
But one thing is certain. Whatever happens, come the new year, we know that we’ll be fine as long as we have clothes on our backs, food in our stomachs and well-charged cell phones.