Commentary of children’s wisdom
Covering Presidents Day at the elementary school reminded me once again of the simple way that children see our world.
In Denise Smith's kindergarten class Friday, children brought show and tell items that had to do with Presidents Day.
One child's contribution in particular, said much.
This young lad proudly handed a drawing to his teacher.
"It's President Clinton," he told her, then added with an authoritative tone: "He's the one who lied."
Upon talking about the face on the one dollar bill, George Washington, one child simply said, "He wore teeth that were made of wood."
Then, when the name of Thomas Jefferson came up, a child piped up with: "He was an architect and my dad's an architect, too."
And of course with Abraham Lincoln, one child said, "He's the one who freed the slaves."
It made me wonder if any of us would be so lucky to be remembered by children hundreds of years from now what would they say about us?
About me, perhaps it would be, "She's the newspaper lady," a comment I've grown accustomed to hearing from children.
And comments about you ... what would they be?
I know you you're the fireman who climbs tall ladders. Or, I know you you baptized my baby brother. Or perhaps it would be something like: Gee, you used to make the best root beer floats I ever had. Or maybe, you were a policeman who put people in jail and kept our town safe.
Perhaps you would be remembered as the lady behind the desk at the library as children of my generation remember Mrs. Pearson at our library so long ago.
Perhaps you would be qualified in a rather formidable fashion such as weren't you the person who used to yell at her kids.
Or perhaps the other way around: Gee, we always wished you could have been our mother or our father.
In my recipe file is a recipe given to me by a cook at the grade school in 1963. When I see that recipe card, I remember the lady in the white apron and black spider web hairnet. Although the lady has grown older, to me she will always be the friendly face in the kitchen.
At Phillips 66, there was jolly George White, who would pretend to snip the noses right off of children's faces.
And at the corner where Glen's Opry now stands, there was one of the sweetest women who ever lived Gracie Reusch. She'd wash your windshield, fill your car up with gas and always had a kind word to say.
As far as presidents go, I don't remember much about them from when I was young except that we kids had a pedal scooter with a Nixon bumper sticker on it we'll always remember where we were when Kennedy was shot and hardly anybody thought it was funny when Johnson picked up his dog by the ears.
And later on I recall, if looking at the world from a more basic, childlike view it might be said that Richard Nixon was the other guy who lied, Jimmy Carter was the one who committed adultery in his heart and interest rates were pretty good for investors when Hollywood came to the White House.
And so, when the talk in the kindergarten classroom wound its way back around to George Washington, it should have come as little surprise that when one student said Washington was a very honest man, another little boy piped up with this question, asking with an urgent tone to his voice, "Yeah but where'd he get his wooden teeth?"