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Did We Let Our Kids Watch President Obama?

Aren’t you a little curious? Did this right-leaning blogger, who criticizes just about everything this administration does, allow his young impressionable children to watch the President of the United States give his “first day of school” speech.

Of course, I did.

However, they watched it at home with both parents and sans federal lesson plans. I encourage my kids to take an interest in politics, and what goes on in the world. Of course, I also encourage them to use critical thinking skills. Something that the original lesson plans from the Department of Education were lacking. I say “original” lesson plans because they were changed after the uproar.

Teacher Lauradean Morganti used some of the U.S. Department of Education’s lesson plans for the speech. She required students to complete the homework assignment: “Are we able to do what the president is asking of us?” “Does the speech make you want to do anything differently?” “What would you like to ask or tell the president?”

Suggested lesson plans had drawn fire, particularly for a section that said students could write to the president and tell him how they could help him meet education goals. That section was later removed.

I had a conversation with a fellow blogger the other day after I put up my last post on this matter. His thoughts were I was overreacting about the “you must listen to politicians” indoctrination being pushed by the federal government on school children. He felt this was especially true regarding young children. His argument was that elementary school children should be taught to listen to authority figures like police and politicians. It is not until they get older that they should be expected to think critically.

I disagreed. I think all children should be taught to be respectful of others, especially their elders. However, being respectful does not mean blindly following whatever an adult says. I shared the following story with my friend.

One day, a couple of years after 9/11, our family was driving north on I-25 by the Sunport. A plane was flying in low and getting ready to land. Our oldest son was looking out the window and commented, “Look at that plane, it kind of reminds me of when the Iraqis flew those planes into those buildings.”

My wife and I looked at each other, and I responded, “It does. But, it wasn’t Iraqis who flew the planes into the buildings.”

Our son thought about this for a few seconds, and then asked, “If it wasn’t the Iraqis, why are we fighting a war in Iraq?”

He was seven.

Kids are inherently curious. They constantly question the logic put forth by adults. The questioning starts shortly after they learn to talk. Anyone who has ever been around a very young child knows has heard, “But why?” more times than they can count. We don’t need to teach our kids to submit and be blind followers. We need to teach our kids to respect, but to question.