Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hide Your Eyes, Kids! Cover Your Ears! Obama Wants To Talk To You!

Did you hear all the uproar about Obama wanting to give a “back to school” speech to the children of the US? There was even more uproar here in our county (Loudoun) about our superintendent’s decision not to feature this speech at our schools. Then later, there was controversy because the superintendent made a last minute reversal of this decision, sorta. He said it was up to the teachers – the teachers who already had their day planned.
Apparently, all this attention caused Obama to rethink his plan, too. I understand he re-wrote his speech after hearing the criticisms. I hope it was not just the criticisms from Loudoun County, but here in the county seat the roar was deafening and I couldn’t tell if anyone else was whining or if it was just us LoCo’s.
I have to be honest here… my family is fighting an attack of what might be H1N1, and so I haven’t been paying that much attention. Plus, I didn’t care really. If the kids watched it in school, or if they didn’t, I would discuss it with them at home. If they hadn’t seen it, and I liked it, I could show it to them at home. If they hadn’t seen it, and I DIDN'T like it, I could show it to them at home. Yes, that’s what I meant.
You see, I think my kids should make educated decisions and not be sent to the mushroom school (where they’d be kept in the dark and fed… ah, er, poop). Whether my kids are 3 or 22 (I have 4 kids and this is their actual age range), I want them exposed to different ideas. As a parent, I do not believe it is my job to protect my children from hearing, seeing or experiencing the world… but to ENCOURAGE it. And, to give them the defenses they need to survive no matter what the world throws at them.
The most valuable of those defenses is education and my values. Let them hear what others say. If I disagree with it, I will explain why. Young kids will adopt my sentiments, older ones will consider my point, the educated ones might challenge me. Perfect. Those are the kids I want – independent thinkers with educated decisions. People that can listen to the point of views of others, consider it, and then challenge it…. Respectfully, not fearfully.
I hear so many political comments based in fear and hate. Come on guys, this is America. We can do better than that. Let’s have educated discussions… and this starts with listening, EVEN to our President.
In any case, now that it’s all said and done, I ask you… did you hear the speech? Did you watch it? What did you think?
I thought Obama’s speech was a nice attempt. He lectured my kids, and put it on You Tube so that next time I think this stuff needs to be said, I can email that clip to my kids. They won’t hit play…but they weren’t going to listen to me anyway, and now I can save my breath. There was no political agenda in the speech, not that I heard. He wanted them to work hard. He tried to inspire. In my opinion, he fell short of inspiring… but again, it was a nice attempt. It takes a village to raise a child… and this time I felt like Obama was on my side.
On a larger scale, I think we should make this a tradition. Since schools all start back each year at different times, and the first day of school is very overwhelming for all, I really think that the speech could be better timed. But, once a year, I’d like for our President (no matter who it is) to go to a high school and give a speech (with no political agenda) intended to inspire our youth. Maybe during education week? Maybe at the end of the summer, just before school starts back for the year?
And maybe the speech should be watched with parents at home, and then re-aired in school. Instead of “what did you do for your summer vacation” the first paper could be “how I am the future of the country, of the world”, or “did the President’s speech inspire you?”; or "if you were President, what speech would you deliver to the kids of America?".

What do you think? Your comments are encouraged!


  1. I like your post! Good job! I should have read it earlier...oh well, live and learn. I pray that your no one in your family does not have H1N1. I've noticed that I've been nervous around coughing, sneezing people lately, so I can definitely understand your anxiety!

  2. Hi Vicky, saw your tweet and thought I'd drop by. Nicely done. I share your sentiments to have the President (any President) speak to the youth of the nation at least once a year and yes a little inspiration is a very good thing. We need them to aspire higher and do well for the world. The Teachers Guides did offer some of what you described .. I didn't see a parents guide but what a great idea! Thx for the post.