The first presidential race I remember, I stood at the bus stop in our neighborhood one morning as the kids were all talking about who was the better candidate.
I knew nothing of politics, but had heard one guy was a peanut farmer. Intriguing me more than who would win the election was the fact that someone could be a peanut farmer. I had never given thought to the fact the peanuts don’t just appear in the jar.
And laws and governing styles do not just appear in a country. There are revolutions, religious teachings, and deeply rooted histories at play. During election time, kids mainly just parrot what they hear their parents say, but it is the beginning of developing a world view.
Many good people acknowledge the same problems in our country and the world, yet vehemently disagree about how to go about solving those problems. With younger kids it is hard to explain the differences between political parties in terms that they truly understand. It is also hard for kids to grasp that other countries are run very differently than our own. I chose something close to home to help my kids understand how different governments affect their citizens.
So, here is the politics of bedtime:
Liberal – If you can’t fall asleep, or don’t have a bed, you may be eligible for a nightly program that involves free government approved nightlights, free story time, and free warm milk and cookies and free hypoallergenic beds. But, you will have to give us a huge chunk of your allowance to fund these programs.
Conservative – Bedtime is an American tradition. Our Founding fathers built their own beds, sewed their own blankets, and weaved their own bedtime tales. Let’s get back to the basics. You have the right to sleep with a toy gun under your pillow for self-defense and a Bible in your nightstand. A huge chunk of your allowance will go towards a strong military to keep your block safe and the borders of your neighborhood sealed.
Libertarian – No one should have a say in your personal bedtime. Just go to bed whenever you are tired, as long as you are not keeping other members of the family up. You have the freedom to make your own decisions and if that means being tired the next day at school, you are the one that will have to suffer.
Dictatorship. – Your bed time is 9 p.m., no exceptions. Being caught out of bed after nine or in a bed that is not yours is an offense punishable by death.
Socialist – We know what’s best for everyone and everyone should go to bed at the same time. It is not fair that the teenager should be awake while the second grader has to be asleep. We will provide the beds with sheets and blankets for everyone. There will be two choices: blue or red.
Green – The production of mattresses increases global warming. And making headboards and night stands is a waste of precious recourses. We should all be sleeping on hemp mats in tree houses, with the rhythm of Mother Earth as our alarm clock.
Communist – No bedtime prayers allowed. We will choose what bedtime reading materials you can have access to, and which stations you can watch. The alarm will sound at 8:50 p.m. giving you ten minutes warning to get into your government issued bed before we turn off the electricity for 10 hours.
Anarchism – The kids have risen up against bedtime laws. Each child is doing exactly what they want and some aren’t even in their pajamas. Others are burning their mattresses. There is no order in the home.
Theocracy – We live by the rule of God, He has spoken to a divinely chosen leader and here is His message: Thou art sleepy, thy bed awaits. In order to stay in a state of grace and out of jail, be in bed, recite the national prayer and turn out the light by 9 p.m.