“Much ado about nothing” comes to mind when I think about the overreaction of some few, vocal parents who feel that children in public school shouldn’t be listening to the President of our country when he addresses them directly.
We have a public school system because we cannot do it alone. Our children need to hear things over and over again from different sources to confirm the truth. These same parents, who won’t let their children listen to this man because they disagree with him on some few subjects, complain that our public school system doesn’t teach values, doesn’t teach character. I listen to this and say, “Yes, friends and neighbors, it does, but you won’t let your children be taught.”
Too often, we dictate to our teachers and education administrators that this subject needs to be emphasized while that is off-limits. What does this teach our children? That some things are too “dangerous” to know? I’m not too old to know that those are the subjects our children will seek out, without our help, and because they can’t be taught in the safety of our schools, they will be taught “the hard way” on our streets.
I don’t throw my support behind Mr. Obama because he’s a black man from Chicago with a touching story and a prestigious university degree. I throw my support behind him because, as he demonstrates here now, he supports me, as a father and a citizen concerned about the welfare of our children, the future of our country. I didn’t wade into the debate about whether our children should be allowed to listen to the President of our country give a talk to them about the importance of them taking responsibility for their education. There is no debate. There are only children who heard this speech, hopefully hearing echoes of what parents like me have been telling them for years, and children whose parents simply don’t understand that good parenting requires the help of the community, and there is no greater figure in our community than the President of the United States. I pity those parents, and I cry for their children, for they have rejected the hope embraced in “Yes, we can” and cling to the failure of “No, we can’t,” not just today, but throughout their lives.
Our country is founded on hope. To take that away from our children is to deny them the very heart of citizenship and every right and blessing given by God to our nation. Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership and inspiring words today, and may God plant those words into my sons’ hearts and minds, inspiring them to be good students, productive citizens, and great leaders in the years to come.