Friday, September 04, 2009

Not political - parental

I try hard not to voice any political opinions on this blog. To be honest, I try not to voice political opinions anywhere. Mostly because my opinions are complicated and I don't like having to defend how I think. It just isn't worth it. I much prefer listening to others and stepping back to form my opinions after I believe I've gathered all the facts. Sometimes I discover later *haven't* gathered them all and I wind up revising my opinions. Hard to do after you've taken a strong stand for or against something. Hence, no public displays of opinions...

But today I read that parents are complaining about President Obama's planned speech to students across the nation. Many parents are asking to have their kids excused from having to watch it.

This is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES talking about responsibility and goal-setting and the importance of education. What can people possibly have against that?

I don't understand it. But -- no matter -- let's not debate the "why" of these parents' decision. Let's talk about something far more troubling (IMHO). I want to know what these parents believe they are teaching their kids by avoiding the president's message. I *get* that not everyone likes President Obama. But avoiding him is just dumb. He's here for four years, at least. What do these parents think the kids are taking away from this? That the world and the people who inhabit it should only be experienced in safe, measured doses, and only when it supports what we already believe? That anyone who disagrees with us should be ignored?

I'm willing to bet that some of these parents also head off to school, filled with righteous indignation when their kid gets called out for talking in class. Or chewing gum. Or running in the halls. You know -- the stuff kids will do that teachers chastise for.

I have to believe these people think they're protecting their kids. Yeah, well, the world isn't safe. And the sooner kids learn to cope with the world, the stronger they start to become.

Come on... no matter what your political beliefs, can't everyone see these are teachable moments? Let's say you're a parent who disagrees with President Obama on (name your issue). Can't you sit down with your kid at home that night and open a discussion about what the president talked about? I'll bet there will be nothing political to his speech at all. Further, why not talk to your kid about the real issues - regularly. Find out what he/she believes. A kid can't make an informed decision without facts. No one can. Why should any parent want to keep their child from learning?

Okay, I'm starting to rant.

Two years ago one of my daughters took an AP Government class and -- she's usually an A student -- got a C for a final grade. Know what? My husband and I thought that was just fine. Almost every night she came home with new concepts to discuss. Her teacher brought up things she'd never thought about before and when she talked about them at home, we had great discussions about all things political. I know she learned a lot that year, even though her grade was less than she'd hoped for. But that's all I wanted - for her to learn.

I'll stop here. I'm just flabbergasted by the number of people opposed to letting their kids hear President Obama speak. Just completely blown away by this and I better stop now before I really get rolling ;-)

Happy Friday. Have a wonderful weekend.


Beth Anderson said...

I'm appalled by it too, Julie, but I'm not surprised. I think that the people who don't want their children to listen to Obama speak about education flat out don't want to hear Obama speak about anything because he's half black, they cannot accept that he's our President, and this is just one more way to insult him.

It's beyond ignorant, but so many times lately we're seeing and hearing people who ARE beyond ignorant and so intolerant it's just pitiful. The sad thing is, they get to vote anyhow.

I've never been as ashamed of and embarrassed by my country as I am right now, and more so every day.

Anonymous said...

I won't pretend to know what these parent's objection is motivated by.
I surmise that one piece of the puzzle is fear of hving to have a reasonable discussion of the facts when the child comes home with questions.
Many parents avoid the "sex" talk with their children and like-wise steer away from discussing highly polarized prejudices with them as well.
rel Bob LaRock)

Shel said...

Some of it is just flat fear tactics. The opposition has been far too successful at making people fear President Obama. Everything from "he's evil" spoken from church pulpits, to the downright lies being spread about proposed health care reform bills. People don't think for themselves anymore, they let the mainstream media (flavored conservative or liberal, depending on your choice of media outlet), do it for them. I'm blown away by it too, Julie, it's beyond my comprehension. And, by the way, my usual reticence on political subjects is for the exact same reason as your own.

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks for your comments!
I just feel sorry for the kids of these parents. They're being sheltered from the real world and being told they're being "protected.' How will these kids cope with real issues they will undoubtedly face when they become adults? They'll have no frame of reference if they've never been called upon to form opinions for themselves.

I think it's sad.


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Though I am not an Obama fan, he is the president of the U.S. Unfortunately people no longer honor the office as they should and this happened long before President Obama came into office.

I would've loved to have had any of my kids hear the president speak no matter who he happened to be. Wow, that's something that a kid would remember and brag about his or her whole life.

People are dumb, there is no getting around it.


Bear Chick said...

I've been saddened and disappointed by the ignorant opinions I've heard recently in the media. But I have to wonder how much of what we hear is selected by the media for its controversial effect. For each of the parents who don't want their children to hear Obama's speech, are there thousands who do? The media loves to flog the negative, especially when it involves the prez. *big sigh* Thanks, Julie, for this post. Sometimes, I think the US has lost its collective mind. Nice to know there's still some of us out there still using our brains!