I’m not sure where all the angst was coming from yesterday about President Obama’s Speech to students. Have we sunk so low as a nation that the thought of a Presidential address to our children is cause for banning said address? Are we so narrow-minded that there was a reason to be concerned to the point of not allowing our children to hear our elected leader?
Here’s the thing. I did not like our previous POTUS. I wasn’t enamored of the man, and, most certainly, I disliked his politics. But had he chosen to make a national address to our children, I still wouldn’t have thought it reasonable for school systems to decide not to broadcast his speech during school. I’d listen to it, watch it myself and just discuss it with my children later. But as much as I didn’t like the previous President, I still would not have had the expectation that he would, in an address specifically for children, say or do anything overtly harmful.
President Obama obviously has some nerve. I mean, how dare he suggest to our children that they hold some responsibility for their attitudes and effort in school? How dare he suggest that they are the future of this country and that a good education will aid them? How dare he infer that they find the things that they are good at? Or that failing is not an excuse to quit? Or to work hard, keep trying and ask for help if they need it? How dare he tell them that their government, parents and teachers consider the education of our children important? What horrible, terrible tenets to teach our youth.
I don’t know if it was prejudice of the man, his race or his politics that caused the outcry in some areas, but it certainly was prejudice rearing its ugly head. Random House Dictionary’s first listed definition of the word is: an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. Sounds about right to me.
John and I discussed the issue last night at dinner. He made the observation that he wasn’t sure if some of the parents weren’t more concerned that they hadn’t taught their children well enough to be free and critical thinkers to view the President’s speech in the “right” way…or maybe that they had taught them well enough.
Our twins are preschool age and we watched the address on YouTube last night. I doubt they got a lot from it, due to their age, but we used it as a teaching opportunity…try your best, don’t give up, and you can do or be anything. As a parent, I feel the more adults that can reinforce those concepts to my children the better.
Oh, one more thought, for those parents of older kids that felt it prudent for their children’s school system to not show the President’s address and were successful in obtaining that goal, all you did was make it “forbidden” and more of a temptation for them to watch it on the sly. I can only imagine how disappointed they will be to find that President Obama says many of the same things you’ve hopefully said to them over the years.