Wednesday, September 9, 2009

For crying out loud

I am not the parent of a school age child. The President's speech to the schools yesterday didn't affect anyone in my household. That does not shield me from all the media attention it's been getting because of parents who were freaking out that the President was addressing their children at school. All the way to work this morning I listened to Kidd Kraddick take calls regarding this exact topic.

I get that people have political views and that for some people, those views are extremely important to them. There are policies and beliefs that our Presidents holds that I don't agree with, but that was the same for every other candidate who ran for President in the last election. Honestly, unless I'm running for office myself I'm probably never going to find a candidate that I agree with 100%. So if I can only vote for someone who's beliefs and policies match my own, then I can never vote. Whether I voted for Obama or not, he is my President and I have to respect the office of the Presidency.

Having said that, I find the opportunity for the President to give a speech to school-age children fascinating and exciting regardless of who that President is. I remember watching the space shuttle Challenger explode while sitting in Mrs. Lumpkin's second grade class. That was a major event. I figure today's kids will one day recall the time that they sat in class and listened to the President address them. I also figure that most of them won't even remember a word that he said...just that he said them.

I read that people were freaking out because they thought the President was going to try to brainwash their children with his policies and ideals. Excuse me? Those kids can't even vote. By the time the majority of them can vote, Obama will be out of office even if he serves a second term. That same majority wouldn't even understand what he was talking about had he decided to get really political in his speech. Irregardless...I feel that if you were overly concerned with the message of his speech then you should prepare to take that as an opportunity to open a dialogue with your children regarding what they heard. Ask them questions. Find out what they actually remember from the speech. If you disagree with something, then talk to them about it. Let them formulate their own opinions about what they took away from the speech. They aren't entitled to agree with you to being with.

I definitely don't agree with the people who chose to keep their kids home from school just because of the speech. Apparently sending a message to your children that it's okay with skip school when something is happening that you disagree with is better than discussing with the the speech after the fact. Nevermind that these same parents aren't constantly calling the teachers to find out what might be said to their child every single day, so why worry about it just this one day? Do you know how much power a teacher has to indoctrinate children with their own beliefs or views? Seems silly to me to worry about this one speech from someone that these children only see on TV and not worry about what a teacher who they actually have a personal relationship with and know in the "real world" might say to them. Over-reaction at its finest I say.

As it turned out, and as I assumed it would, his speech was nothing but a "stay in school/education is important" type of pep talk. I find it admirable that he took the time out of his probably extremely busy day (I'm thinking the President of the United States doesn't have time to play Farmville on Facebook) to address our nation's children and spread a positive message to them.

Photo borrowed from Flickr,'s photostream.


Kell said...

i was outraged that people were making such a stink over this.. if the president was neglecting the youth of America - people would be bitching.. when he addresses them - they bitch. it seems as though the people with the least common sense always have the loudest opinions. infuriating.


Jenn said...

I with you. I think it's funny that for some reason we think shielding kids from issues is somehow better than teaching them how to deal with them. I didn't see the speech, so I can't comment on its contents, but I do feel like Obama has spent more time trying to be on tv than any president I can remember. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.

Laurie said...

You need a talk show!!! Our school wouldn't show it because they received too many phone calls before the event expressing concern.....UGH! so now they're collecting permission slips to show it. it's just sad

Shannon said...

I think the uproar was based on a couple ideas. The content of the speech was not released at first. Place this on top of his socialist ideology. Throw in children and you have uproar. Once the speech was released I think the uproar should have been quelled. Was the speech rewritten between the uproar and the release? We'll probably never now but the speech as given was not political at all and I had no problem with it.