Home > Big Talks, School, Wild Child > A conversation with my son about the Obama Speech

A conversation with my son about the Obama Speech

IMG00193-20090426-1252 (2)So at bedtime I chatted with the girls about their days, and asked about the Obama speech. Afterwards, I asked my son about it, and before he really got started, I got what I decided was a flash of inspired brilliance and grabbed my crackberry and recorded our conversation. I wish I’d done that with the girls… sometimes with Tyler, you ask a question and when he’s finally done talking, it’s been an hour and you’re asking yourself…

Who put a quarter in you?

… and sometimes, he has a hard time figuring out how to express his thoughts verbally.

He’s like his mama like that…

 a 13yo’s take on the Obama Speech

When I was listening to this afterwards, I cringed a little bit. Something I said with the best of intentions doesn’t sit too well with me.

At the end of the conversation, I tell Tyler that he and his sisters are smart, and they’re good kids, and they usually come away with the “right” answer.

Now, I can definitely say that I am impressed by most of what I hear when I listen to their opinions and observations about their world. I can hear the values I’ve tried to live and teach them, I can hear our UU Principles ringing out. But I don’t want to start down that slippery slope of leading them to believe that they get the “right” answers because they are good, smart kids.

They ARE good kids.

They ARE smart kids.

But none of us have THE RIGHT answers. So I need to think about how I phrase my feedback to them, so that I am more of the change I want to see in the world, where grown ups respect opinions that differ from theirs and can listen to another view with an open mind, rather than saying, I’m right and you’re wrong… and it’s because I’m smarter, or a better person, or anything else.

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  1. September 8, 2009 at 11:31 PM

    Interesting take on that. 🙂
    I’ll be pondering on this a lot…it hit a cord that needs to be strummed. Thanks.

    • September 8, 2009 at 11:45 PM

      Anything for the cause 😉

  2. September 9, 2009 at 5:55 AM

    I was surprised because I live in NE Florida, which is culturally S. Georgia, but both my children were able to see the speech in school.

    I was not surprised that my son ate up every word. He is a big Obama fan. In fact, he has an Obama poster on his ceiling.

    But my daughter appeared genuinely moved. She said the speech made her feel special and she even joined my son in several “Yes We Can”s and a few “Fired up and Ready to Go”s.

    This could have been a motivational moment for all school children. Too bad it was spoiled by a bunch of cynical cranks.

    • September 9, 2009 at 6:09 AM

      My kids are Obama fans too… my 10yo wanted to write him a letter after hearing in the news that the Obama’s would be looking for a new church when they moved to DC. She was sure they’d enjoy a Unitarian Universalist congregation 😉

      I was surprised my 13yo was as moved (or perhaps the better word is motivated) by it as he appeared to be. Especially when the conversation (pre recording) started out with, “Well, I don’t really remember what he said. I mean, I know what he said, I just can’t tell you what he said.”

  3. September 10, 2009 at 7:34 AM

    indeed this did strike a chord. I’m just a college student…not really an obama fan…actually I pretty vehemently oppose alot of what he is doing today but I’m still trying to decipher his motive behind this little shindig.

    • September 10, 2009 at 7:54 PM

      I doubt his motive is much different than that of any other president that has addressed the nation’s children in the last two decades. George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan all made similar addresses to students, though I believe Bush Sr.’s was a teleconference. US presidents have been attempting to influence the nation’s students for more than a hundred years (you can look to the history of our pledge for evidence of that, and Eisenhower’s assistance in getting God in our schools, and on our money).

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