An Open Letter to My Four Children: I don't care what President Obama says, you may not remain on our health care policy until you are 26.
For the record, you also may not move into the basement and install black lights or hang Che Guevara posters (or posters of Barack Obama in the style of Che), nor may you consider our laundry room an intergenerational gathering place.
At 26, you will have been a legal adult for five years and will have obtained an education or professional training. You will have been taught to drive, cook, operate a power drill, call the cable company when the service goes down and, most important, prepare your own income-tax return.
You will be old enough to get married, enter into a binding legal contract, start a business, buy a home and even rent a car.
Twenty-six isn't terribly old, but it's old enough to know better. It is not adolescence, no matter what the American Psychological Association says.
Not to worry. We have confidence in you. Adulthood is not as hard as it looks.
Love and kisses, Mom.
Perhaps because the president's own children are still so young, he doesn't realize that success in parenting is defined by our children's independence.
Children seek independence naturally from the time they are toddlers, yelling "All by myself!" at the least interference from an adult.
They follow this instinct as adolescents by lying about their whereabouts, erasing their text messages and wearing styles that makes us cringe with embarrassment.
Nothing is as important as this innate quest for independence because it is the essential element to becoming an adult.
For the sake of our nation's future, it's an instinct whose smoldering ashes ought to be fanned, not squelched by the lure of "slackerdom."
Yet last week at a rally to generate support for his sinking signature health reform bill, Mr. Obama announced with fervor that the plan includes a provision for unmarried adults up to age 26 to be covered on their parents' policies, irrespective of their educational status or employment.
The "young adults" in Mr. Obama's audience cheered as if the school principal had just told them they were getting an extra recess, while he smiled with self-satisfaction as if this act of largesse is his right to bestow.
Keep in mind that such coverage isn't really free. It just feels that way to the president and the young adults who won't be paying for it.