Are our leaders smarter than a 5th Grader?

I had a very interesting experience the other day while waiting for an appointment at the doctor. I decided to sit in the lobby outside of the doctor’s office to bask in the sun rays coming in from the skylight. A moment that here in Seattle we stop to enjoy. I want to share my interaction with an 8 -year old with you. I asked her mom if I could share our interaction and she said yes but requested we keep them both anonymous. So…what could a chat with an 8-year-old sound like? Amazing!

As I’m sitting there next to a woman and youngster, I couldn’t help noticing that the youngster was drawing on a piece of paper, “Haley for President.”  As you know, I’m a positive talk radio host and do not cover political news, but I was fascinated by the drawing.  So my curious interview mentality took over. I asked," So you want to be President?" What happened next is probably the most incredible interview I have ever experienced in my 10 years of talk radio.  Envision this youngster chatting with me as she continued to draw her nomination for President with a beautify heart around her name.

Election 2016


Me:

I see you have a heart drawn around “Haley for President.” Is there anything else you thought about being?

Haley:

Yes. Vice President and Oprah and Ellen.

Me:

Hmm…Oprah and Ellen would be super fun.

Haley:

Yes. And they help people. What's your name?

Me:

It's Patty. Do you know about the elections we are having now?

Haley:

They are not now. People are just saying they want to be President but it happens later and then we have Thanksgiving mom says.

Me:

 (Huh, faire point.) What do you know about the people who say they want to be President?

Haley:

Well, mom says that the man with the white hair and the women are on the same team. That they will help grandma pay for her operation.

Me:

Oh, are you here with grandma?

Haley:

Yes, she is in the other room with the doctor. Mom and Dad are going to help grandma and give her money for her operation.

Me:

What do you think of the man and woman? Bernie and Hillary, right?

Haley:

 (never lifting her head but answered without hesitation.) Yes. Dad says that he should get a haircut.  I saw [Hillary] dance once and I think she should get lessons.

Me:

I love to dance and I’m a pretty good dancer myself. Why is dancing so important?

Haley:

 (Now fasten your seatbelt for this. With her head down, she continues).  Well, mom says that they will be going to a party soon. People dance at parties and she should know how to dance. But…they are mad at each other. I heard the man with the white hair say angry things about the women.  You can’t go to a party mad. I had a party and none of my friends were mad. I play sports at school and I love my team.  Mom, do you know why they are mad and will they make up before the big party? They are on the same team and are trying to win like we do at school. My teacher makes us sit out if we do mad and angry things. She says that to win we have to be our best and cannot if we are angry.

 

Me:

What do you think they should do?

 

Haley: 

Well…they should say they are sorry. Mom makes me do that. Then hug. I do that too. Maybe write a letter and ask Oprah to help. I think the President tries to help. He is on the same team too. Mom says that the people at the party are not all on the same team. I said, well how come they are invited to the party? (Ok, she has my complete and utter attention at this point.) Dad says so that they can decide on who is going to play first and who is going to play later.

Me:

It sounds like you don’t like anger or being mad or people being mad at you.

Haley:

 (She looks at me for the very first time) Do you? (Now I'm the one being interviewed)

Me:

No…I don’t. I have never been able to accomplish much while I’m mad, angry, or resentful.

Haley:

What does that word mean? Resent….what?

Me:

When you stay really mad at someone for a long time.

Haley:

That is what happened where my cousin lives.

Me:

Where is that? (Mom now looks at me and says…Orlando). Oh…

Haley:

Yes 'cause  (Fake name) Jamie is gay, mom says. She just loves people and I love Jamie.

Me:

 (I should try to change the subject) What would you do as president?

Haley:

Let me think. I would stop calling people names. The man with the funny hair does that. Dad watches TV and I hear it sometimes when I’m coloring. I would protect people with kind words. Mom says kind words heal. Grandma doesn’t have money for the doctor. I would give her money. We saw the people in tents downtown (Seattle). I asked if we could camp there too. Mom says they have no other place to live. I would build them nice homes.

Me:

 (Not knowing where to go) Where would you build them?

Haley:

I would call Mr. Gates. I think Dad calls him Bill. I have to call him Mr. Gates but only until I’m President. I really like you. Do you want to be my Vice President? You would have to be on my team like family. I’ll call you Auntie Paddy, Ok?

Me:

 (Now my eyes are filling up)

Haley:

Mom says my cousin did not get hurt. People got hurt because they love each other. The man was angry mom says.  Mom, can we go to the big party and help them be friends?

Mom:

 (Sit and smiles) Well, I didn’t receive an invite. We have to be invited.

Haley:

How will we make them not be mad anymore and be on the same team to win? Dad says that the Seahawks did not win last year because a player got mad and did not play for a bunch of games. When he wasn’t mad anymore he played again and we won. The man and woman should dance together at the party and have fun. Mom says she doesn’t think they will. I don’t know why? He should not go to the party if he is going to fight. Mom says sometimes it is good to fight. I would fight for grandma. She is from a different place like in another state. 

Mom:

She is from Bosnia.

Me:

Oh…are you afraid for her?

Haley:

I was afraid to go to school today. Jamie is afraid too. People are afraid. The man with the funny hair was on TV. I wasn’t supposed to be watching but mom was in the kitchen. I want to be president, but not like them I don’t think. The man with the hair called my friend a mean name.

Me:

 (Oh no…now I’m really looking at mom. Do I stop? Mom just looks at me as if to say, “You opened the door and my daughter is amazing…so fasten your seatbelt). What was mean? I love Pocahontas and thought that was a good thing. Mom says it means..mom, what did you say?

Mom:

Playful one.

Haley:

yeah, but the funny hair man was saying it mean and called the woman goofy. Name calling is mean. Do you think it is mean?

Me:

Yes. And hurtful.

Haley:

It does hurt. I was called names because of my glasses. (She has very thick lenses.) Mom says to say something nice back, that people who call people names are hurt inside. We should try to love them. I try.

Me:

 (OK, now my eyes are really full. And again I try to change the subject. Mom is looking a bit more somber as Haley keeps coloring in the heart.)

Haley:

Is Oprah going to the party, mom? (OK, back to the party)

Mom:

I don’t know.

Haley:

Mom, I don’t think your team is going to win.

Mom:

Why do you think so, Haley?

Haley:

Mom, hate hurts. Cousin Jamie told me that when she called. I think the funny hair man hates. What does hate mean?

Mom:

When you really, really, really don’t like someone or something.

Haley:

Oh. Like oatmeal.

Mom:

Yes, maybe. You really don’t like it, do you?

Haley:

Nope. Do the man and woman hate each other? Bennie and Hill.

Mom:

Bernie and Hillary?

Haley:

Yes.  Do they? The other man doesn’t like them and they don’t like each other. Nobody likes anybody. How can they be President?

Mom:

Auntie Paddy?

Me:

 (Nice mom.  I don’t even know mom’s name.) That is a really good question. They can maybe be President but I don’t know how good they will be at the job.

Haley:

Not very good. If my teacher was angry all the time it would not be fun. I would help old people too. And babies. My uncle was staying with us. He had no job. I have a job at home. Dad says Unc tried but couldn’t. Mom, why did Unc not have a job?

Mom:

His job went away.

Haley:

I would bring his job back so he could have a house like us. Mom says lots of people’s jobs went away. People died where Jamie lives.

Me:

Yes…I know…

Haley:

I wanted to go see Jamie but mom says we shouldn’t right now so Jamie is coming here. She is very sad. I am sad too. Hate hurts. I would stop hate. Will you help me, Paddy? Are you sad? We could go to the party and help them kiss and make up?

Me:

 (Now…tears starting to come down). Yes, I am sad. Hate hurts a lot.

Haley:

Mom says I have to wait to be President until I’m 18 and maybe after school but I could learn now. That’s why I can watch the TV mom says.

Me:

I need to learn more too. What would you say to all the people at the party if you could go.

Haley:

First – Go Hawks…(She laughs. Oh the amazing way children can shift emotions) Then I would say what Mr. Abe (The PE teacher I found out) says to us all the time. If you see a person on the team needing help, help them. They should help each other or leave the team. Then you can get better players, right mom? (She nods.)

Me:

What else?

Haley:

I'd say stop hating the earth and hurting it. Stop hating each other. Stop hating people who love people. Just stop hating. Hate hurts.  How old will you be when I’m 18 Patty?

 

Saved by the bell…My name was called.

 

I walked away from this experience with a different mindset. This little girl perceives society with such innocence and with hardly a care in the world. She does not see reason for hate but she recognizes it all over the place. We can all be a little more like Haley. Looking past hate isn't easy, but what lies beyond it is acceptance and kindness. Only then, can we be happy.

 

Dr. Pat Baccili