Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Obama's Speech to Kids is Released.

They have released the speech which Obama is due to give to America's school children. It's exactly as most sensible people expected to be; emphasising the need for kids to study hard, not to cut class and to be respectful of their teachers.

He talks of kids who might not have both parents, or who might come from economically challenged backgrounds and says this:

But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That message is about as American as apple pie, and it only undermines just how paranoid and stupid the right have been in everything they have said about Obama's wish to "indoctrinate" children.

And I think there is something genuinely inspiring in some of the things Obama says:
Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
I think it fantastic to tell kids that failing at something doesn't mean that you are stupid; to remind them that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

But the fact that the Republican naysayers have been proven utterly wrong on everything they claimed Obama was trying to do by addressing America's youth, won't have any influence at all on their paranoid ramblings.

They'll simply ignore the fact that they have been revealed as partisan paranoiacs and start spouting their latest insane theories. This is, sadly, simply what they do; and it's what the audience at Fox tune in for. They want their prejudices reinforced, which is what the Hannity's, Becks and Malkins of this world do so very well.

Click title for full speech.

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