08 September 2009

Take Responsibility, Students!

President Obama's address to the students of our nation today fell during our lunch period, but we did have it showing in several classrooms for those who wanted to see it. It isn't ground-shaking stuff and definitely not crazy left-wing propoganda that some school administrators would have you think but how quickly they distanced their schools from it. It led me to wonder a bit lately if former Presidents Reagan and Bush received the same outcry of "indoctrination" when they spoke to American schoolkids. I looked over the prepared remarks released by the White House and condensed it down to the following for those out there to busy to see or read it.

Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide...

And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it...

We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country...
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...

But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try. That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures...

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...

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...

So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be?

4 comments:

  1. I just love the comment, "Don't give up on yourself" kids need support from everyone to develop a good self esteem when they are young. This in turn leads to a strong adult who thinks they are capable to earn a living, live a good life and enjoy doing so.

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  2. I read the transcript after our picnic discussion. I was pretty stunned by the mainstream, non-partisan nature of his comments.

    Where did all the hoopla come in?

    More important (to me) how do we get rid of it? Every issue is "the crisis of ..." or the "complete degredation of the american institution of..."

    Usually I turn the channel at that point b/c what follows is a predictable diatribe against the other party...

    Obama's biggest challenge isn't going to be education, or Pakistan, or even the economy, it'll be reducing the width of the aisle in Congress.

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  3. I missed the education speech (been there, done that--kids old enough to figure it out themselves), but I did catch the health care speech last night. Wow! I thought he nailed it. A public shout out to you earliest Obama supporter that I know! Educational, adversarial (in an effective way), with a great peroration, I hope that it turns the tide against the crazies. Good with kids and with grumpy old white guys, this guy has some ability!

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  4. My thanks to Congressman Wilson for his eloquent demonstration of my concerns.

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