As we know (all too painfully well in some cases) the Republican national convention was held last week in Cleveland while the Democrats have invaded Philadelphia this week for theirs.

Today these events are nothing more than carefully staged political theatre.  The days when they were real conventions with delegates actually going to the event without knowing which nominee would emerge are long gone.  Now speaker after speaker marches to the podium and as soon as they finish a group of “talking heads” masquerading as political experts on behalf of whichever cable TV news network is picking up the tab dissects their comments.

Objectivity is a foreign concept to the experts.  They are all pushing some agenda and therefore, some candidate.

Still it usually beats another episode of Duck Dynasty so I have my TV on in the background as I work on the computer or read a book.  Who knows, someone might accidently say something that is meaningful.

So I was tuned in last night (July 26) when former President Bill Clinton took the stage to talk about his wife, Hillary, who had been nominated as the Democratic candidate a few hours earlier.

I was especially interested in whether he might mention his wife’s involvement in starting the HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Pre-School Youngsters) program in Arkansas years ago.  I’m familiar with HIPPY and served for several years as chair of the advisory board for Alabama’s program.

The program is designed so that “parent-educators” make more than 30 weekly home visits to tutor parents on how to work with their young children to learn numbers, colors, the alphabet, etc.  It’s a neat program because it engages parents in their child’s education.

And sure enough, my ears perked up when I heard President Clinton say the following:

“Hillary told me about a preschool program developed in Israel called HIPPY, Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters. The idea was to teach low-income parents, even those that couldn’t read, to be their children’s first teachers.

She said she thought it would work in Arkansas. I said that’s great, what are we going to do about it? She said, oh, I already did it. I called the woman who started the program in Israel, she’ll be here in about 10 days and help us get started.

Next thing you know I’m being dragged around to all these little preschool graduations. Now, keep in mind, this was before any state even had universal kindergarten and I’m being dragged to preschool graduations watching these poor parents with tears in their eyes because they never thought they’d be able to help their kids learn.”

And I chuckled at mention of the preschool graduations because I’ve also been to my share of them.

Alabama has a very active state HIPPY network.  Each one can share wonderful stories of what they’ve experienced and been part of.  And it’s neat they got richly-deserved recognition.