Excuse me, are you listening? Don’t Write About Me – Part I

Rina Risper

Rina Risper, President & Publisher of The New Citizens Press (Pandemic photo 2022)

Dear Readers,

For those who are deciding not to journal, I understand, however, no matter how busy you are, please try and do so. It is important to document your time that you spend with your family.

If you do not write in a journal, consider writing your children letters or a letter to all of them. Make sure to add all of the details because if you do not, you will forget.

I learned last week that it could be the difference between telling your child how wonderful they were at a young age but not really having the details.

My daughter came to me recently and asked me what she was like as a child. I was confused. So I told her that she was loving and helped me a lot. At the time that she asked me, I could not remember specific details.

She was helping me with the newspaper and we came across an old “Excuse me, are you listening?” column that I wrote on March 30, 2008. I want to share it with you:

Dear Readers,

No matter what, 2008 will be remembered as one of the most exciting times in political history. My 6-year old daughter, Anissa, made it quite clear to me as we watched CNN, a 24-hour news channel, while ironing clothes.

“There’s the man!” she exclaimed quietly as she looked at the television, while folding her shirts. Before I could say what man? She responded, “Barack Obama. He is running for President.”

Neither my husband nor I have discussed the political process with the two younger children, so I was really curious about her comments. I asked her how she knew that he was “the man” and she quite matter-of-factly said, “Oprah.”

Oprah you ask? I heard my son, Amir, who is 5 and Anissa screaming Oprah’s name as if she were a rock star several times. I wondered how they came to the conclusion that Oprah was such a great woman.

When I finally asked both children chimed, “Drake and Josh.” Drake and Josh is a show on Nickelodeon, a television channel for children. Something really creative must have happened on the particular episode that exposed Oprah to a whole new generation.

She asked me if I voted for Barack Obama. I thought, explaining this is going to be way over her head.

I fumbled around trying to explain to her that Obama was not on the Michigan ballot because the Democratic National Party has rules and Michigan broke the rules by having an early primary.

Anissa continued folding her shirts, but was now staring at me intently. “We have a ‘Vote Here’ sign at my school,” she said. “I just wanted to know if you voted. It’s verrrrrry important.”

She wanted to know why Michigan broke the rules. Again I fumbled with the words to explain that Michigan thought by moving it’s date up that they would have better leverage for the problems of our state. I explained that strategy backfired and now Michigan has been stripped of all our delegates (our opportunity to have a voice in the election process).

After a pause she said, “Oh, it’s like in school when we have to line up and someone jumps the line. That’s not fair to the other students. Besides the person usually gets in trouble and has to stand in the back of the line anyway. Sometimes when one person does the wrong thing in school, all the students have to pay the price. The teacher is the boss though.”

She went on to ask me if I remembered the day when she had to write “I will follow directions” on a piece of paper. Her complaint at the time was “I didn’t do anything and I still had to write it.”

My brow was crinkled and I just stared in amazement. I almost forgot that I was supposed to be ironing and quickly picked the iron up from the shirt. Thank goodness it was cotton.

I thought, Wow, she understands it and she is only 6 years old.

Note: There seems to be talk about having a re-vote in Michigan but as of the printing of this article, no decision has been made yet.

While reading this together, we both cried a little bit. As my daughter grew more independent she did not appreciate being the focus of my writing so it changed. That is a story for next time, Part II in the next edition.

Love people,

Rina Risper



Rina Risper