Practical Dad

Teachable Moments:  The U.S. Census

All parents, not just fathers, should live for those "teachable moments" that let you teach something to the kids.  And I received one today in the guise of the 2010 Census form delivered in my mailbox.

Tonight is a family meal night when all of the kids are home and my intent is to pull it out after finishing dinner.  They can see the form and we'll discuss certain questions.

  • What is the census and why is it done?
  • What will the government do with the information?
  • Considering that the government is asking more information than in the past about household members - name, gender, age, race - should we answer it in its entirety?

Part of the teaching will pertain to the Constitution itself and yes, I have a hard copy in the bookcase.  If you don't have a copy available, you can read it online here.  Other issues that might apply for the elder children is why so many Americans distrust their own government and what happens if we don't return the form.

Kids need to hear this from parents as well as schools and don't make the mistake of  thinking that they don't hear what's happening.  When Middle was six years of age, he entered the kitchen and inquired how the school knew who lived in our house.  I responded that I'd answered their planning questionaire and returned it with the names and ages of all of our kids; he simply stated that the government has need to know that and left the kitchen.

They are learning how to pay attention from watching you.  Look for the moments and grab them.

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