Allowing Our Children to Make Informed Decisions

Updated: Watch the live streaming video of Obama’s address here: http://linkbee.com/C1U6I (10:40 a.m. CST)

Updated II: And by the way folks, to play fair, Democrats got just as bent out of shape when Pres. Bush spoke to kids in 1991. http://bit.ly/3JM2Go Bottom line? Keep an eye on our politicians. Power corrupts people, even good people.

Much controversy has surrounded the issue of why President Obama is addressing the nation’s school children Tuesday. Critics point out that much of the background information originally delivered to schools suggested that teachers use the speech to discuss the president’s work rather than education itself. When that was criticized by the media, the White House pulled back, now communicating that this speech is about the president sharing his views about why school is so important.

Whether or not you believe it is a good use of the president’s time to deliver this national education speech, or whether or not you agree with him, here are some tips on how you can use this opportunity to educate your own kids about education – how it works, what we all can do to make it better, and how we can influence our elected officials to do the right thing for our kids.

Why are some people so mad about his giving the speech?

Some people think this is another attempt by the president to take over an issue that’s historically been a local one. Clear authority for school improvement needs to be made at the state level. The federal government can provide support or incentives, but we’d prefer that decisions about how we operate schools and what kinds of reforms we adopt be made closest to where we live–by state legislators that we elect from our communities. Local decisions are not always the best, but we can monitor them more easily and they reflect the unique differences of each state. As long as we all recognize that, no one should be threatened by the president’s speech.

This is an excerpt from the article, “Making Sense of President Obama’s School Speech” at The Center for Education Reform.

I’d like to take it one step further — people are also upset because they see it as yet another attempt, from our government, to push socialistic issues, not necessarily educational issues, on our country. By addressing our children, some people feel like they are trying to manipulate, and mold, our young into thinking the way they do so they will grow up and support a socialist country.

People are scared and nervous because suddenly, becoming a socialist country is a lot more attainable than they had originally thought possible. Helping people is one thing, taking over people’s lives and dictating how they can, and can not live, is an entirely different monster.

Look, here’s the thing — I’m a devout Republican.

I know, how freaking annoying and OH MY GOSH! I must be a cold and heartless person to admit that, but please, don’t judge – we all have our beliefs and I just happen to agree (FAR) more with the Republicans than with the Democrats.

(We don’t need no stinkin’ government breathing down our necks, thank you very much. We can take care of ourselves).

But let’s get real here, just because I’m a Republican doesn’t mean I agree with everything the Republicans stand for. For instance, what is UP with people’s reactions to President Obama’s proposed speech?

Granted, when I first read about the speech and saw, with my own eyes, what he had planned, I was furious.

“What can YOU do to help the president??” Was one of the exercises the White House was “suggesting” our children take part in after the speech.

Geez, what a self-serving … jerk that man is. Could his ego GET any bigger?

Was my first thought.

But because this is America and we have an awesome, if not flawed, checks and balances system, people saw this load of propaganda nonsense and called the president out on it.

(Though to be fair, it was most likely the writer’s fault for the insane, and poorly written verbiage, but who knows? You’re telling me the president never looked over the material before it went public?)

As a result, the White House revised the agenda.

Score one for the Republic. (Keep an eye on these politicians, folks. Both Democrats AND Republicans. They will be given an inch and then tax us a mile).

But now? It’s a simple speech, addressed to our children, about the importance of staying in school and to work hard toward their goals.

WHY exactly is this a problem of such colossal proportions that parents are actually entertaining the notion of keeping their children home from school tomorrow?

What exactly are we teaching our children when we resort to drastic measures like this simply because we disagree with an institution or an individual?

That it’s okay to simply hide our head in the sand and NOT at least have the respect and courtesy of listening to an opposing side? How does this mold responsible and informed future citizens? How can a person logically and intelligently make a decision on an issue if he/she doesn’t hear ALL sides?

Don’t our children have the right to make up their own minds about issues? Are we so focused on making sure they grow up with our own ideals and beliefs that we’re willing to yank them from the debate, thereby denying them the right to decide for themselves?

That in itself sounds a little like brainwashing to me.

Now granted, they are children. And they are gullible and vulnerable, but let’s give these kids some credit, they aren’t likely to become brain washed into a radical state of thinking by simply watching one presidential address.

(Now if the president makes this a habit, that’s something entirely different – but this one time? It doesn’t warrant the panic that it’s evoked).

And let’s not forget, he IS our president, whether we like it or not. Again, what are we teaching our children? To disrespect the president? What ever happened to respectfully disagreeing?

My boys are going to school tomorrow. And I am NOT signing a form that will excuse them from the speech IF their teachers feel it’s necessary to allow our students to view it. Why? Because it’s a perfect opportunity to TALK to the boys about what’s going on in our country right now and to LISTEN to their own unique, and individual, views on the subject.

By making this a big deal, guess what, IT’S A BIG DEAL. At least, to our children, who don’t fully understand what is going on. All they know is that their parents are upset because the president, a man who deserves our respect simply because of his position, is daring to speak to our country.

I understand the principle behind the arguments. I understand, and agree, that we don’t wish our president to shove socialistic ideals down our children’s throats. And yes, it’s a little strange that the president is addressing this during the day and not at night so that parents and children can view it together.

But I believe he feels like he’s doing a good and positive thing here, so let’s take the president’s good intentions and go with it.

Keeping our children home from school simply because we don’t wish for them to hear our president speak is defeating the purpose – it’s NOT making our country stronger, it’s driving that wedge just a little deeper.

(Cute little girl image by Clover__1)

6 thoughts on “Allowing Our Children to Make Informed Decisions”

  1. Absolutely. I thought President Obama did a great job today. It was empowering and inspirational. (I mean that).

    And I’m really glad my oldest son had a chance to see/hear him. I think the part where he warns kids about not allowing failure to define who they are now, or will be someday, really hit Dude where it counted.

    We had an interesting conversation about the speech in the car while waiting for my youngest son today after school and THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what it’s all about.


  2. Very inspirational speech I loved how he aimed for our kids of today to plan for tomorrow, its not giving them political empowerment or guiding them in the wrong direction as the media portrayed but its giving them hope that through all the struggles and storms you may cross you will come out the hero In the end way to go Mr. President.

  3. You are so right – I think kids of all ages are a lot smarter than we always give them credit for. My son isn’t in school yet but if he was, obviously I’d have him attending today. Of course, I’m a lot more liberal than you are AND voted for Obama, but even if it was good old George W making the speech, I’d feel the same way. He’s the president – we should support him and the country and definitely education.

  4. “We all live in the country together and the country has to work together for the benefit of all.”

    Work together, yes. Compromise and formulate fair and helpful laws and programs, absolutely. Make the people dependent on the government for every aspect of their lives, NO. When the government gets to be so big that we can’t make a move without them saying “Yea or nay,” then we have a problem.

    The bigger our government gets, the bigger our problems get. Do you think our current programs are effective? What about efficient? You really want to take the chance, given the government’s poor track record, of allowing the government to handle something as PRECIOUS and IMPORTANT as our health care?


    If the government takes control, WE lose control of our most precious asset – ourselves.

    We should have programs that help people, of course. We want programs that help those people who want to help themselves, or who can’t help themselves. But as with anything the government touches, it turns previously productive and independent people into slaves because it’s just easier to stay where they are instead of working to get themselves out of their hole and back on their own two feet. Government programs make people DEPENDENT and I personally think that’s cruel.

    I actually heard a lady say one day, “This is crazy! I’m making too much money to qualify for FREE medication!!”

    WTF?? If you’re making too much money to qualify for free medication here’s an idea, BUY your medication! Cut out the fat – got cable/satellite TV? Get rid of it. Got an iPhone? Get rid of it. Eating out every night? Start cooking at home. Why exactly do you need to drive a fancy car again? And do you really need that big of a house?

    It’s called priorities, not entitlements. If you earned it, great, enjoy it. If you haven’t, then stop whining and get out there and earn it. Stop expecting our government – i.e. tax payers – i.e. US – to foot the bill.

    The government’s goal is not to help us, they want to CONTROL us.

    Huge difference there. Huge.

    And I’m not saying every program that the government has instigated is bad or “evil.” Of course not. They are necessary in order to maintain an ordered and structured life.

    But where exactly does it stop? When exactly do we hold our hand up and say, “You know what? Thanks for the offer, but I can take care of myself.” Never? Because I for one would like the freedom to make my own choices and if people are willing to give that choice over to our government then guess what, that person is accountable to the government. Government says jump, we ask how high.

    Don’t like it? Tough. Where are you going to go? Competition has been eradicated. Choices are gone. We’re stuck. Let’s hope our government makes good choices.

    (And looking at our past history or even the current state of affairs? I’m not overly confident. Are you?)

    And since you mentioned Medicare, you realize it’s going bankrupt, right? That it started out as a great idea but them morphed into an unmanageable monster and is now on the verge of distinction because it’s running out of money? Oh wait, the government can just print us more money. Silly me, what’s the problem?

    And the work week thing? That’s not the government’s doing. Work weeks are set by the private industries who hire the individuals. Don’t want to work that much? Quit. Get another job that doesn’t require as much time.

    Wait. Was that a CHOICE? Just think, if the government took over the business sector completely, there wouldn’t be a choice. If one wanted a job, then one would have no choice but to work those hours.

    *sigh* Sorry to go off on a tangent here. The point of this post was to remind people that we need to step back and listen to the problems before making a rational and educated decision. We can’t make informed decisions if we’re hiding or “protecting” our children so much that they aren’t even allowed to gather the information they need to make those decisions.

    Talk to your kids. They deserve to know what’s going on and they’re entitled to their opinion.

    At least, for now.

  5. When I was a kid the Republicans screamed about Commies coming out from under the bed.

    Now I have to laugh at all of the talk about the horrors of becoming a “socialistic nation.”


    Dear I have a clue for you, you wouldn’t want a totally capitalist nation either, and I expect that you have come to depend on some of our country’s socialist programs:

    The interstate Highway system,
    The Post Office,
    Food and Drug Administration,
    The eight hour work day,
    The five day work week,
    Local Fire and Police….

    Do you get the theme here? Life isn’t about getting what you need and slapping down the rest. We all live in the country together and the country has to work together for the benefit of all.

    Be glad that every road isn’t privately owned.

    Be glad that the government pipes water to your home.

    Don’t get caught spewing the word socialism like it’s a herpes infection. I’m glad you are confident enough in your kids that you will let them listen to the President’s speech.

    Take care

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