This commentary will likely not be the first you will read on the controversial new CBS reality show, Kid Nation.

The premise of the show is to take forty kids, aged eight to fifteen, to an abandoned ghost town in New Mexico and let them bring the town back to life and create a society complete with its own government. Parents were forbidden to interact in any way with the kids or the production … and that’s where the swirling controversy begins. Many are finding the production highly offensive.

Questions concerning adult supervision, child labor laws, physical and psychological health of the children and insulation from state authorities are now haunting CBS and the show’s producers. Advertisers are getting cold feet as well.

Although it can be argued that the parents willingly accepted the conditions under which filming would occur and that the children wanted to undertake the challenge, some would suggest that they are too young to make rational decisions and that their parents had no right to “sign certain rights over” to CBS.

In either case, the children were not forced to remain on the set and could opt out of the production.

The real question here, outside the legal issues, is what the purpose of the show is? Most, including those who argue against the show, believe it was to see how the kids survive the ordeal. Although we might never know the motive, beyond ratings, for CBS, there are valuable lessons to be learned …. not for the kids, but for adults.

As adults, we manage societies governed by rules that are often created by our governments, corrupt or otherwise. Children are unencumbered by rules and are “tainted” only as they mature into adulthood. A child’s innocence sparks creativity and nurtures an open and honest environment built on trust and confidence.

We can all learn by watching children play, work, laugh and ask questions. It is, perhaps the single most redeeming factor the show offers that may have been overlooked in the swirling controversy.

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