Are You Smarter than a Fifth-grader?
By: Patti Bankson
Have you seen the new program called, â€œAre You Smarter than a Fifth-grader?â€ I guess it could be called a game show, of sorts. The set-up is this: The contestants are adults; some with college degrees. In a mock classroom, thereâ€™s a â€œpanelâ€ of fifth graders the adults can call on to help them answer fifth-grade level questions – should they need the help -. Not surprisingly, even the contestants with degrees needed the fifth gradersâ€™ help and not surprisingly, the kids are very capable of giving the correct answers.
Itâ€™s been a very long time since I was in fifth-grade, so Iâ€™m not sure whether fifth-graders in my time were as smart and precocious as the ones on this panel, but these kids are definitely both. It would make sense to me that the showâ€™s producers would pick kids who are above-average, otherwise the show wouldnâ€™t work. And the show works because itâ€™s kind of funny to watch the adults struggle to answer a question that the kids can easily answer … you can tell itâ€™s a piece of cake for the kids by the way theyâ€™re all on the edge of their seats, waving their arms in eager â€œpick-me, pick-meâ€ anticipation. Of course itâ€™s funnier to watch those adults struggle with elementary school questions than it is to watch yourself struggle to come up with an answer, but thatâ€™s not my point. My point is that as precocious as those kids may be, theyâ€™re still only fifth-graders and it would make sense that, with some exceptions, adults know more than grade-schoolers.
Iâ€™ve noticed, though, that some of the Democratic presidential candidates and political consultants seem to think otherwise, and I find that to be rather insulting. If youâ€™re not insulted and youâ€™re buying into what theyâ€™re selling, perhaps you need to sit down with a fifth-grader, because you need help.
If I had to give that partyâ€™s candidates specifically, and politicians in general, a report card, theyâ€™d certainly deserve an â€œAâ€ for â€œAsinineâ€. For instance, look at how they leaped onto the â€œme-tooâ€ bandwagon when Jesus made it onto the important-people-to-know-if-you-want-to-expand-your-voter-base list. Obviously, only God knows the truth of whatâ€™s going on with them spiritually, but in some cases, even God might be surprised at what buddies theyâ€™ve become. I suspect He might even be down-right shocked to find out that theyâ€™re such good buds that the candidate can even speak for Him and hand out judgments on His behalf â€“ like John Edwards did recently.
In a beliefnet.com interview David Kuo asked him, â€œWhat parts of American life do you think would most outrage Jesus?â€â€œOur selfishness. Our resort to war when itâ€™s not necessary. I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. I think he would be appalled, actually.â€
Stepping into Edwardsâ€™ presumptuous shoes, this is what I think might outrage Jesus: rich trial lawyers/politicians who spend millions to build lavish mansions, while shaking a finger at those with far less for not giving enough. â€œI think he would be appalled, actually.â€
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24 NIV
Patti Bankson invites your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
©Patti Bankson 2007
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