Although they are now 17 and 15, I still read aloud to Nathaniel and Emmaline sometimes. This sparks a lot of good conversations. It also bonds us. We have "inside" jokes because of the characters that we have loved together. Now that they are older, they read some political news with me, and we discuss it. It's just part of our daily conversation like talking about the weather.
Nathaniel, who is still homeschooled but takes part in a dual-enrollment program at a community college, told me last week that his history professor spoke in support of Obama during class and that the other students were swayed by this. Nathaniel told me that the other students didn't know anything about Obama and therefore believed everything the teacher said. He gave me some specific issues that he had spoken up about during class. This surprised me, not because of what Nathaniel believes but because it came from our casual reading and talking together, and I have never considered before how important it is, whereas I often worry about homeschool lesson planning and whether we are covering enough of the right things.
I've resolved to work harder at being a good interlocutor. I've always thought that texting, twittering, television, and even pornography are all used to distract us. I thought it was to keep us from thinking, which it does, but maybe also it is to kill the fruit of thinking, which is being able to engage in meaningful conversations. Without meaningful conversations we are dried up leaves blowing across the yard at every gust of the New World Order wind.