Let The Kids Run The Place

Hoosier Perspectives

More wisdom bottled up in little kids than we can imagine.

Published on: July 2, 2012

Last week came two Supreme Court decisions, neither of which was easy to understand. Even legal experts were baffled by the twists and turns used to reach decisions, especially in the healthcare ruling. At the same time, more regulations flow from EPA regulators in Washington, D.C. The ones that make any sense just make life out here more difficult. The ones that don't make any sense are a dead giveaway that the people writing them either have no common sense, have never been on a real farm, or both.

Maybe the problem is that we in the hinterlands have grown complacent, given up and aren't providing our input to the system anymore. When we do, it can make a difference. We saw that in the reversal the Department of Labor made on child labor laws that would have crippled youth job opportunities in agriculture. But we waited until the last minute to pay attention, and in the end discovered that in this case, at least, it was uniformed people who thought they were doing a good thing, who didn't realize how the current generation teaches the next generation in agriculture.

I think I hit on a solution to our troubles watching my two and a half year old grandson play on the porch the other day. Grandma fills up two pans of water- we're too cheap to buy him a wading pool, and he has a big time splashing around and moving water from one place to another.

Then I noticed he took one pan and dumped it in the bed of his big, plastic dump truck. Earlier he had used it to haul gravel at the barn, so it probably needed cleaning. The pan didn't quite fill the bed. So he looked at the bed, looked at the other pan of water, and what did he do?

If he was a politician, he would have needed a permit to get more water, or dump the load of water already in his dump truck. The permit might be denied, because the water might make the concrete wet and he might fall.

If he was a bureaucrat, he would dump the whole pan of water still full onto the dump truck. So what if two-thirds of it ran off after the dump truck bed was full? You can always get more water from the faucet.

No, he picked up a small pail, scooped out just enough water from the remaining full pan, and filled his dump truck bed. Eventually, he dumped the bed full of water, cleaning out the dust. But he still had three-fourths of a pan of water to play with.

My wife operates a day care during the school year. One of her little charges is four years old, but sharp as a tack. One day he rattled off all the planets for her, with a complete description of each one. He even knew Pluto was no longer a planet. My wife was so impressed she had him do it for me at lunch time.

I was duly impressed too. My first thought was I bet you couldn't find one football player on any college campus who could do that. Someone else amended that to you probably couldn't find anyone, especially in Congress, that could do that.

This world just might be better off if we took the knowledge we've learned as kids, pure knowledge, and think like kids- be problem solvers. No more passing the buck, ducking the question, twisting words- just plain, old-fashioned common sense decision making. If you don't understand something and it's your job to regulate it, you learn about it before you ever put pen to paper. What a great world that would be.

In the meantime, I'm going to sit on the porch and watch my grandson play. It's more educational than watching TV, especially if they're talking about politicians and politics.