Our children are watching everything that is going on and they are not impressed in the least. Worse than that, they are disgusted with a lot of adults and completely uninterested in the 2012 presidential election.
You say you don't care? Well you should.
One of my daughters said she couldn't tell whether or not it was a Democrat or Republican speaking on T.V. because they all sounded the same.
"And why are they all so mean about each other?" she asked.
Out of the mouths of babes I thought.
My other daughter asked what makes Democrats and Republicans different from each other and how we know when a politician is lying. Another question only a child could have the sincerity and courage to ask.
As sappy as it sounds, 'children are our future' and what they think about us does matter, not just for their own sake, but for our well-being as well.
Don't forget the American population is aging at top speed and that it is our children and their friends who will be deciding where and how all of us will be cared for later in life.
What a scary thought that is.
During the 1960's and '70's, many young people were passionate about valid social issues and spent much of their time protesting against things they did not believe in, and marching for things that they did.
I remember my father coming home from long days as a University professor and sitting me and my siblings down in front of our boxy black and white television to watch Walter Cronkite's coverage of the Vietnam war, Watergate, the Women's movement, the Civil rights movement and countless other stories that he thought we should see.
Cronkite's nightly sign-off "And that's the way it was" still rings loud and sentimental in my ears and memory, while I recall the days when families experienced life together in a well intentioned and tangible way.
While I didn't understand most of what I saw as a child, the fact that my father thought some issues were integral enough to pay attention to gave me a role model to look up to.
Even more than the specific and dire issues themselves, it was the fact that we had a parent who cared enough about what was going on in the world and took the time and effort to shared both his wisdom and his passion.
I remember landmark moments in history that we talked about at the dinner table where we shared meals each night as a family; in our own neighborhoods where we felt a sense of community; and with anyone else at all who cared enough to discuss them.
Yes, "That's the way it was."
In no way am I making a sweeping judgement about our youth a whole, but rather making the point that to ignore the emotional health, general malaise and political dispassion of our young people would be to disservice them even further.
Today, it is difficult enough to get some kids to stop texting long enough to explain to them why college will give them a head start, let alone about what each political party plans to do about healthcare and the economy.
Besides, kids know that we don't even understand what politicians will really do for us if elected.
And that is our fault, not theirs.
We can go ahead and tell our children all we want to about what they should care about and do, but if we don't even take the time to learn about what our own political leaders are talking about and stand for, then we can't expect our kids to care.
Can you blame them?
Teenagers and younger kids have been suckled and undernourished on an Internet culture which they view as their very own and have more creative ways to navigate than any of us adults can begin to venture upon.
Their leaders are the YouTube stars of the moment, their own IPhones, reality show buffoons like The Kardashians, billions of odd photos they send on Instagram to one another, Twitter, and any other pixelized entity that holds the most shock value for the moment.
And while many of us grew up on songs and anthems that had 'peace and love' and 'anti-war lyrics, many kids today are listening to music laden with messages filled with political disinterest, depression, anger, self-hate and a general loathing for what they see as a world they don't want to grow up to be in.
But the kids are our responsibility, just as we will become theirs when we can no longer take care of ourselves.
As for my own children, I can begin by tuning more into their lives, sharing meals with them and having something we used to call "conversations" as we all tune out of our cell phones, computers and cable television shows during dinner.
That's right, we will all actually be able to talk and hear what each other is saying, and for more than five minutes at a time.
I'll let you know what happens.