This Tuesday the US President is going to be giving a speech addressing public school children. Mostly it’s a “study hard and stay in school” sort of speech.
Since the Johnson administration, the President of the United States has done this, barring the Nixon administration.
Now, I’m a Libertarian, so I’m certainly at the opposite end of the current President’s general political philosophy on many, many issues.
But I have a question for you, the parents who are up in arms about our current President giving this speech, and about it being shown in schools:
What is the MATTER with your parenting that you’re terrified of a fifteen minute speech? My word, people, if you’re that scared, check out what’s going on in the school every day. I’ve read my child’s textbooks and review his homework assignments. Don’t you? Don’t you talk to you children about them?*
You don’t like President Obama? You don’t like schools being used as propaganda machines? Fair enough. Neither do I (Like schools as propoganda. President Obama, while I often disagree with his politics, seems an honorable man and I expect I would enjoy a dinner party with him). However, that’s been what public schools have been used for since most of your great-grandparents have been going to school. I find it curious that you’re only finding this dangerous and freaking out now. Haven’t you been talking to your children all along?
You want your kids to understand your values? Spend time with them. Homeschool if you’re really that worried. Turn off the damn television (a worse propaganda machine than a public school where your child is permitted to live at home with you could ever dream of), have dinner together at night and quit over-scheduling them with all sorts of activities that relieve you of the onerous chore of getting to know the human beings your children actually are.
Will they always agree with you if you raise them “right”? Probably not. My parents taught me to think for myself. It worked and no, we do not share the same opinion on every subject. In fact, I’d be astonished if my parents claimed to share the same opinion on every subject between themselves, even on the big stuff. Neither do my son and I, for that matter. But I feel quite confident, because we’ve talked about it, that my son’s opinions are the result of thinking things out rather than automatic reaction to propaganda.
And ya know, I’m okay with that.
*Though, A Children’s Story by James Clavell is assigned reading in my household.