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Uncle Instructor

“What’s politics?” my eight-year-old asked me. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot the last week.”

Noooooo, I thought. How can I possibly explain this in a sentence or two that makes sense to him? Do not have the brain power now!

“Politics is …” I paused, searching. “… arguments over how to apportion resources.”

I waited for his inevitable follow-up questions. Instead, my brother, visiting from Oregon, called on his Social Studies education background and continued explaining. “For every dollar you spend, the government takes twenty or forty cents. You get to decide what gets done with those cents.”

Whoa, I thought. That’s a great way of explaining it to an eight-year-old.

“That’s the idea, anyway,” I said. “In reality, the government spends even more than it takes in maintaining a vast military presence in more than a hundred countries, and then its representatives say we don’t have enough money for things like school, health, or food.” I paused, waiting to see if Li’l D would have any more questions.

Nope. Satisfied (enough), he resumed reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid

And I wished, a little, my little brother could be here for more such conversations. So. Much. Easier.

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Categories: Family, politics Tags: , ,

two for two

Decades ago,
my siblings and I
did what we called
“two for two”

In theory,
we would exchange
two minutes of backrub given
for two received

I didn’t understand it then,
but this positive physical contact
may well have saved
our lives

(Loving touch
Is THAT important)

As the eldest,
I would typically exchange
two minutes given
for ten seconds
returned

So, now,
as my “little” brother
plays checkers with my
older son, who inherited his name
from my brother,
I trace my fingers
over my brother’s back
and think:

Years later,
I would wager
I still owe him
thousands of minutes

… and I am happy to,
for the moment, have the chance
to bridge the deficit

Categories: Family, Health Tags: , , , ,
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