Find­ing out who’s smarter than a fifth-grader?

Record Observer - - Religion -

Some­times an idea will take pos­ses­sion of my mind and lit­er­ally run with it. Most of the time when an idea sees the con­di­tion of my mind it slowly walks away shak­ing its head. Some­one said a mind is a ter­ri­ble thing to waste, but I’m sure they had no knowl­edge of my mind.

Then there is that odd mo­ment when an idea com­pletely dis­re­gards the con­di­tion of my mind and takes over. Such has been the case lately.

The idea that has taken up res­i­dence in my mind lately has to do with the con­di­tion of the lead­er­ship in our country. I have reached that glad time of life when I have the per­spec­tive of look­ing back over sev­eral decades.

The con­se­quence of look­ing back is that I have con­cluded cer­tain things are not as good as they used to be. I know I’m not as good as I used to be, in fact the Gra­cious Mis­tress of the Par­son­age sug­gests that I never was. Of course, I bow to her per­spec­tive, which goes back fur­ther than mine.

The fo­cus of this de­cline cen­ters on po­lit­i­cal lead­ers. Never in the his­tory of our country have so few done so much to con­fuse so many. I will not say that the av­er­age politi­cian is dumber than dirt out of my deep re­spect for dirt. At the end of my life, my body will be com­mit­ted to the dirt and at that time, I do not want the dirt to have an ax to grind with me and take it out on my body.

The ev­i­dence, how­ever, sug­gested the whole po­lit­i­cal group shares one liv­ing brain cell. The prob­lem with this is we never know which politi­cian has the live brain cell at any given time. The wattage of this brain cell is so low it is barely no­tice­able. If it were not for polls, the av­er­age politi­cian would have noth­ing to say; but be sure, he or she would say it with a great deal of elo­quence.

It was at this point that an idea en­tered the dark cor­ri­dors of my dor­mant mind.

One evening re­cently, my wife and I had fin­ished the day’s la­bor and nes­tled in our liv­ing room to re­lax by watch­ing a few mo­ments of tele­vi­sion. It was our for­tune to see a brand-new pro­gram, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?” To say that we were de­lighted with this new show is like stat­ing peanut but­ter goes quite nicely with grape jelly.

The ob­ject of the game was to give ques­tions to adults from grades one through five. Help­ing the adult would be a team of fifth-graders. All the ques­tions would be from the afore­men­tioned grades of which the av­er­age adult should know the an­swers. (Duh.)

Af­ter watch­ing this sev­eral times both my wife and I noted that no adult was able to an­swer all the ques­tions. To this day, they have not found any adult smarter than a fifth-grader.

This is where my idea be- gan danc­ing the tango up and down the cor­ri­dors of my mind. Why don’t we take this idea to Wash­ing­ton, D.C.? Let us see if there is a politi­cian smarter than a fifth grader.

Not to tip my hat, but I think I know the an­swer to this one, and I don’t need any help lines.

What would hap­pen is this; we would gather the top fifth-graders from all across our country. This would prove once and for all the va­lid­ity of the “no child left be­hind” pro­gram.

Th­ese chil­dren would come to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., for a ques­tion­ing pro­gram, fully funded by gen­er­ous do­na­tions from ev­ery politi­cian on Capi­tol Hill. Those who do not give a gen­er­ous do­na­tion to this pro­gram would im­me­di­ately be dis­missed and sent home to live out the rest of their days in ob­scu­rity and never al­lowed to hold a pub­lic of­fice again.

One by one, each politi­cian would stand be­fore th­ese fifth-graders and an­swer ques­tions. Chil­dren all across our country in grades one through five would sub­mit ques­tions. This would have the dual ef­fect of in­tro­duc­ing chil­dren to the world of pol­i­tics as well as in­tro­duc­ing politi­cians, prob­a­bly for the very first time, to the real citizens of our country.

If any po­lit­i­cal leader fails to an­swer any ques­tion or an­swers it in­cor­rectly, he must look into the cam­era and say, “I’m not smarter than a fifth-grader.” But that’s not the end of it. Here be­gins the ge­nius of my idea.

When a politi­cian fin­ishes this por­tion of the pro­gram, he or she then must re­sign his po­lit­i­cal of­fice and give it to the fifth-grader who an­swered the ques­tion cor­rectly. Af­ter all, if the fifth- grader knows more than the politi­cian, who should be mak­ing de­ci­sions for our country?

If any politi­cian makes it all the way through, there is one fi­nal ques­tion I know will stump him or her. I have yet to hear of any politi­cian who knows the an­swer to this ques­tion.

The fi­nal ques­tion will be, “What is the of­fi­cial lan­guage of the United States of Amer­ica?”

I take com­fort in what the Bi­ble says. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own un­der­stand­ing. In all thy ways ac­knowl­edge him, and he shall di­rect thy paths.” ( Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV).

As long as we have lead­ers who look to them­selves for wis­dom, our country will never go in the right di­rec­tion.

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pas­tor of the Fam­ily of God Fel­low­ship in Sil­ver Springs Shores. Call him at 352687-4240 or email jamess­ny­ The church web­site is www.whatafel­low­

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