Federal Way mayor debate inspires mom's answers at home | Jan Hallahan

The colors of autumn are bursting forth in full glory all around us. Earlier this month, it was green leaves and summer. Today it is a blustery swirl of gold, burgundy and brown. The ever-changing fall foliage isn’t the only seasonal change that I’ve noticed lately while out and about in Federal Way. It’s a political signage storm out there too. Elections in November mean that early Christmas ads have competition, along with the numerous Halloween stores that scream to be seen.

I’m politically calm most of the time. However, the Oct. 9 Mirror article detailing the Federal Way mayoral candidate debate between Federal Way City Councilman Jim Ferrell and State Rep. Skip Priest was inspiring. Bemusedly, I wondered out loud, “Could my family also be duped as easily by using lots of big, impressive words, while avoiding the answer to the question entirely?” This might change the dialogue at my house forever! A family exchange could go something like this:

Teenage boy: Hey, Mom, I missed lunch today because I had to study for a test, so I’m really hungry. What food are you planning on fixing us for dinner?

Mom: Oh, that’s really tough to miss lunch because you had to study for a test. Studies suggest that this predicament is a huge problem nationwide in high schools because the competition to get into a good four-year university is fierce. Grades are a top priority. Not only are kids skipping lunch, they often miss breakfast too because they’re so tired from participating in extra-curricular activities that enhance their college applications. The key to a happy, productive life depends on good grades, thus ensuring the continuation of studying through the lunch hour.

Teenage daughter: Mom, did you pick up those adorable boots I told you about that were on sale only through today? I need them for tomorrow’s big assembly. Everyone has them, and I won’t have any friends unless I go to school tomorrow wearing them.

Mom: Interesting that you should mention how important it is to try to visually assimilate yourself into the high school culture. Wearing clothing that allows one to blend into the crowd historically points to a classic psychological need to belong. A primary goal for our community should include accepting that everyone is an individual and it’s OK to be different. The recent bullying news stories support this necessary mindset for tolerance in this troubling age.

Tween girl: Can you take me to The Commons Mall today so I can shop at Target for my cute eraser collection?

Mom: Collections are a unique way to amass huge quantities of the same thing. This natural behavior is an intrinsic part of our inner voice subconsciously trying to protect ourselves from famine. The quote “less is more” applies only to those who abstain from the mentality that one can never have enough shoes, clothing or cute erasers. It’s a normal human condition to seek the safety of hoarding in order to preserve the quality of life as we know it today. Tomorrow could certainly usher in a new era of deprivation, in which case the stockpile would suffice until upcoming opportunities arise.

Husband: Did you iron those shirts yet?

Wife: Personal hygiene and proper dressing are very important elements of a good sales persona. A crisp, clean appearance helps to instill confidence. When purchasing work shirts, the information on fabric content, where it was manufactured, and cleaning tips should be visible on a sewn-on tag. Interestingly, that’s the law. Wrinkle-free material is a stylish, iron-free option for today’s fast-paced business associates. This natural fiber and synthetic blend defies the normal wear and tear occurring day after day. It truly is the smoother, smarter choice of textile for the future. This mayoral election bid will only be intensifying along with the vivid leaves in the coming weeks. Sidestepping issues by any method shouldn’t be allowed. We need honest answers to tough questions that ultimately affect us all in this colorful vote, come rain or shine.

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