Hearth to Heart: Getting the Message


My emotional daughter often shows her teenage side so it’s gratifying to me when she shows signs of growing up. One night, Kathie was “care-giving” for a family who lives near us. (I can’t say baby sitting since the kids are far from being babies.) She hadn’t seen them for months so they were all looking forward to their time together.

The kids have a new Nintendo Wii they got for Christmas. Kathie said she felt awkward playing with new-style controls.

“I’m so used to our old controllers, Mom. I think I understand now how you feel when you try to play with us. I felt old like there’s this new stuff, and I don’t know how it works.”

“Story of my life, nowadays,” I thought.

I didn’t understand how the game worked when Kathie explained it to me, but somehow they incorporated a video game and a website that played a movie made from the video game characters. There were sound effects, music, and subtitles. At the computer, she and the kids took turns reading the subtitles. (I swallow hard when I think that books are becoming less tangible with each generation.)

Kathie read the subtitles, using different voices for the characters (something I always did when I read to my girls). She paused her reading whenever a character named Princess Peach, Mario’s girlfriend, spoke, and let Abby, who is almost 8, read that part. She had eleven year old Garret, read the villain/hero voices until there got to be so many different ones, he said, “You do better at all the voices. You do them.” Garret contented himself with pressing the button that changed the subtitles.

The phone rang and Kathie asked who it was while Garret checked the caller ID. “Hillary Clinton,” he answered. Kathie was pretty sure from the way he said the name, he didn’t get the picture.

“Let’s let the machine pick it up,” she suggested. Then she explained to him, best she could, about propaganda.

“Propaganda is when people push the things they’re trying to boost up so they might tear down somebody else or exaggerate to make themselves or what they’re saying look good.” (“Not too bad a definition”, I thought, when she related the story to me.)

It looked like the idea clicked with Garret. They let the phone ring till it stopped.
“Everyone in the country is being called like that,” she explained to them.

“How does she get time to call everyone?” Abby wondered.

Kath told Abby that Hillary had a lot of people helping her.

They had a fun night. The kids were impressed when Kathie had a conversation with the pizza delivery guy. He graduated with her big sister, Jo. “You know him,” they asked?

Since there were lots of movie videos to choose from, she had each of them pick two movies they wanted to watch, then, they voted on them. By the time they’d narrowed it down, 15 minutes later, Mom and Dad were home.

Kathie came home early that night, ready to tell me about her evening. In the short time they had, it sounded like they’d accomplished a lot and had fun doing it.


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