Friday, November 5, 2004

More should have 5th-graders' empathy

Your voice: Patty Leonard Donnelly

Young Americans should have the right to vote. By young, I mean grade school-age children. Three of my four children fall into this category, and they are wonderful citizens. Children are loving, accepting, concerned and giving individuals by nature. My children don't judge others by the color of their skin, religion, by social status or sexual orientation. They see people as they truly are and they see life as it is truly meant to be seen.

What has happened to adult citizens? We adults could definitely learn about life and living from our children.

My fifth-grader recently studied the Constitution, and he had to memorize the Preamble. I am very grateful he had this assignment - for him and me. He learned about the backbone of our free country and I had an eye-opening experience. I was reminded of what it means to be a citizen of the United States.

My son not only memorized the Preamble, but he truly understands it. He recently asked me, "How can people vote no on Issue 3, Mom?" He told me this did not make sense, because our founding fathers worked so hard to make sure we would "secure the blessings of liberty" and "insure domestic tranquillity" and "promote the general welfare."

He told me that people need to be treated with equality and respect and without judgment. He said that people need to be protected from others causing harm. He told me that our rights and our freedoms need to be protected. He said that no one should be able to take these away. He also said that everyone has the right to make a good living and to get along with others. Remember, this is a fifth-grader saying all these things.

My hope for Cincinnati, Ohio and the United States is that we all take a good look at what our founding fathers worked so hard to establish and preserve. I also hope and pray that we all vote and act as responsible fifth-graders who have just learned about the Preamble of the Constitution and have not yet been corrupted by racism, discrimination, hatefulness and selfishness.

Patty Leonard Donnelly is married to Patrick Donnelly and is the mother of four children. A graduate of Miami University, she is a teacher and a lifelong Clifton resident.

Send your column or proposed topic, 400 words or fewer, along with a photo of yourself, to assistant editorial editor Ray Cooklis at rcooklis@enquirer.com; (513) 768-8525.

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More should have 5th-graders' empathy