Reprinted from March, 2013.
My wife, an elementary school librarian, was teaching about presidents and read a short biography of Washington to a kindergarten class for Presidents' Day. Such teaching always involves quizzing, both to reinforce the material and to get them used to interactive learning and paying attention to the key material. "Do you know who our first president was? Several voices reported that it was George Washington.
"He's dead, isn't he?" one girl asked. My wife nodded. There was a serious pause - the belated mourning of an age group which knows that death is a loss but does not have a good grasp of time scales.
"I miss George Washington," one little boy said quietly. My wife's reply was heartfelt and genuine: "So do I."