I come from a family who was well-informed by osmosis. I don't recall that my parents ever sat us down and said: you must be well-informed. We just were. We listened to the morning news on the radio and we read the paper every day. My family watched the evening news ---- CBS was the preferred network. When I was 14 and requested that my parents get me a Newsweek subscription, they did so and then read the magazine themselves and talked with me about what I was reading. 25 years later, I still have that Newsweek subscription and I still read the magazine from cover-to-cover each week. I read a daily paper (though I do it on-line) and the radio news is how I start my day. On the weekends and during summer vacation, I add BBC World News to my daily habit. At age 7, my son recognizes the voices of National Public Radio. Though I no longer watch much TV news, I read a handful of political blogs every day.
I'm basically well-informed because I never knew a time when that wasn't important. I'm teaching my son the same habit, though the war in Iraq and the state of the world makes that hard. I don't want him exposed to violence and war. Children want to believe things are black and white, but how do I tell him that American soldiers are good when there is Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo? How do I explain what our nation is doing in Iraq? How do I explain that sometimes our elected leaders cannot be trusted? I am cautious and yet I let him listen. For all that I can't explain, the core value that I want my son to develop is the idea that being well-informed is important. He must listen and read and ask questions in order to know what he believes and where he stands.