I watched the first of the ‘debates’ between Senators Obama and McCain last night.

I have complained for years about how these debates are not really debates — but rather a carefully scripted series of dueling soundbites.

Last night was a slight departure from that phenomenon. They actually almost debated.

Why mention this? It’s not to inflict my political views or observations on anyone reading this blog. Aside from adding a widget that identifies my choice, I will not allow my blog to become about politics.

I will not talk about who ‘won’ or not in this first debate. My opinions are my own.

I open this subject because it is educationally valid.

I would love to integrate more about politics (ok well, not really politics as it is, but how it should be) and elections and the democratic process, into homeschooling projects with Nic.

He is interested, if rather passively. And he knows that this is a presidential election year. He asks questions, and he knows what Chris and I believe…and who we are supporting.

But Nic is also a bit neurotic. I know that he’ll obsess about our family’s stability if he hears about the current economic crisis. He already obsesses about the state of the planet with regard to global warning…

So there is a delicate balance that we must find, all of us parents, with our children and their increasing understanding of the world around them.

We need to find a way to help them begin to understand what’s going on and why — but not saddle them with responsibility for it yet.

Part of what I do is answer his questions as well as I can, acknowledging his lack of perspective or experience. I model for him respect for the process and respect for the institutions — and respect for the office itself (be it school board or president of the U.S. or anywhere in between) even if we disagree. I think it’s deeply important for children to see it modeled that we can disagree with one another’s perspective and policy decisions without being angry with each other as people.

I find that the ability to ‘agree to disagree’ respectfully and productively is seriously lacking in many adults.

Maybe with focus, we can begin to change this with and for this next generation.