How much do you talk about politics and the presidential election with your school-aged children?
Allison and I are pretty "free range" when it comes to this. That's partly because we often disagree about issues or candidates. We both have the same big picture goals for our society and our family, but we differ on how to get there. One of us is more of a flaming liberal who is soft on terrorism and wants to pay higher takes; the other wants to give tax breaks to Exxon-Mobil and defend gun rights in the pro-American parts of America. Whatever.
We do not, however, use the kids as human shields in our political discussions. We want them to form their own decisions, which -- let's face it -- means backing the candidates who their friends support.
The other night I was driving 6th-grader Caroline to the YMCA and I asked her if she had heard the humorous nickname for Sarah Palin -- Caribou Barbie.
Yes, she said she heard it on "Saturday Night Live." She had already gone online and watched the Palin opening from SNL the night before.
At Nickelodeon.com, more than 2,000 young people cast a vote for president, and Barack Obama edged John McCain, 51 to 49 percent.
Nearly 250,000 youngsters voted in Scholastic News' election poll. Their voters chose Obama by 57 to 39 percent.
I haven't polled our kids yet, but I know at least two are leaning toward McCain.
"I like his ideas," our 9-year-old boy said recently.