Paul Ryan and his modern family on the campaign trail

Paul Ryan and his modern family were on the campaign trail together last weekend. Mr. Ryan's three kids, all under age 10, are adjusting to the national spotlight as their dad campaigns for vice president.

Mary Altaffer/AP
Modern family life is changing for the Paul Ryan brood, from left, Mr. and Mrs. Ryan pose with his sister-in-law Zoe Ryan and her daughter Zaydee May, in front left, Charlie, Liza and Sam, in Janesville, Wis., Oct. 31, 2012.

Liza likes to wear smart clothes and wave to the strangers. Charlie is "the shy one." Sam mugs for cameras every chance he can. All of this would be unremarkable behavior for a trio no older than 10 if their father, Paul Ryan, weren't running for vice president.

A regular presence on their father's campaign in its last days, the trio of tikes fires T-shirts into the crowd from slingshots and seems to enjoy the shift from small town Janesville, Wis., to motorcades across the country. They joined their parents here on Nov. 4, to tailgate before the Green Bay Packers' game and tossed beanbags with their father — while hundreds craned for a peek at the potential second family of the United States.

They're getting quite accustomed to the attention. Even when they went trick or treating last week, national journalists came with them.

"You need two hands to hold your candy bag," Ryan explained to reporters who asked him why he was carrying a scythe.

He then chased after his children through the same neighborhood where he once went door to door for candy. Secret Service and aides, of course, were not far behind.

Candidates' children are often featured on the political campaigns, although seldom are they as young as Liza, Charlie and Sam Ryan. Romney's five sons are surrogates for their father and Vice President Joe Biden's son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, often appears for the Democrats.

The Ryan children haven't taken public roles, of course, but they are a familiar site at Ryan's side, especially on weekends. And there is a softer tone to Ryan's remarks when his children are a few feet away in the audience.

Liza is the one who is the first off the plane, waving to anyone waiting. She dressed up as Katy Perry for Halloween and strutted past her neighbors as if the tree-lined streets were a runway.

Charlie, the elder son, is less forthcoming.

"Charlie? He's the shy one. He's hiding behind Eric Cantor right there," Ryan said Nov. 3, in Richmond, Va., as Charlie tried to stand behind the Republican leader.

A few hours later in Panama City, Fla., he was called "this shy guy in the family."

But it most often is 7-year-old Sam who steals the show.

After Ryan's sole vice presidential debate with Biden, Sam got bored with the staged handshakes. He wandered over to his father's seat on the debate stage and started spinning around in the office chair.

At his dad's first campaign event this weekend in Marietta, Ohio, he jumped onto the stage and earned cheers of his own while his pop walked off the stage to shake supporters' hands.

Sam started flashing a V-for-victory sign and wide grin.

"I don't know where he gets it," mother Janna Ryan said of Sam last weekend as she chased after him in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

RELATED: Top 5 bullying myths - What you don't know about bullying

Right before, he hoisted his hands above his head, blocking photographers covering Paul Ryan's factory tour.

"It's kind of crazy," Mrs. Ryan said as she shook her head.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.