Kids of today are open-minded about some things

Elise T. Chisolm

November 29, 1990|By Elise T. Chisolm

Sure kids believe in E.T., and if you don't you're missing out.

I just read a Gallup survey claiming that 40 percent of children polled said they believe life exists on other planets.

Good for them.

Kids aren't so dumb.

A few friends called me after reading the result of the poll: "That's ridiculous," one said. "Kids don't believe in stuff like that."

I told them I do. That shut'em up.

I even know some adults who live on this planet who act like they come from another planet or should be living on another planet.

The survey by region went like this: in the Northeast, 47 percent believe in extraterrestrials; in the West, 42 percent; in the north central region, 38 percent; and in the south central region, 32 percent.

What does that tell you? It tells you that the Northeast and the West Coast are crowded and children are probably hoping they can escape by space craft to another galaxy and get away from traffic, crowded schools and pollution, and maybe even Mom and Dad.

In the West, kids are probably afraid of earthquakes, or some natural disaster, and feel that on another planet there might be a chance for a heaven with no tornadoes, no homework, no parental discretion and lots of Reeses' pieces.

But listen, I have to say it is really a waste of time to poll kids. They aren't going to give you a balanced report. They know how to play the game.

For instance, if you did a poll now with kids and asked them "Do you believe in Santa Claus?" of course they'd all say "yep" knowing that a negative answer might cut down their intake of presents on Dec. 25.

I bet if you asked 2,000 kids between 5 and 10 years old who had seen the movie "E.T." "Do you believe in E.T.?, they all would answer "yes," especially if they thought their names might appear in a newspaper.

Kids aren't so dumb.

I recently took a 6-year-old to see "Peter Pan."

I asked her in the car on the way to the show if she believed in Peter Pan? "Yes, of course," she said smugly.

But after I had treated her to the show and ice cream afterward, I asked the same question and she said, "Well, I believe in him but I don't know how he flew."

I asked her: "Do you think an extra terrestrial could land in your back yard?"

"Of course," she said. "And I hope he brings a lot of money with him."

You see kids are smarter than adults. They know that we all should believe in something bigger than ourselves, something or someone you can't always see or rationalize. That's why E.T. was such a great idea. Maybe it's kind of like religion: Those who don't believe just plain miss out.

As I've said, kids aren't so dumb.

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