An open letter to parents (First Lady Michelle Obama)
01/14/11 09:18 AM ET -
Like so many Americans all across the country, Barack and I were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of violence committed in Arizona this past weekend. Yesterday, we had the chance to attend a memorial service and meet with some of the families of those who lost their lives, and both of us were deeply moved by their strength and resilience in the face of such unspeakable tragedy.
As parents, an event like this hits home especially hard. It makes our hearts ache for those who lost loved ones. It makes us want to hug our own families a little tighter. And it makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in – and the world in which our children will grow up.
In the days and weeks ahead, as we struggle with these issues ourselves, many of us will find that our children are struggling with them as well. The questions my daughters have asked are the same ones that many of your children will have – and they don’t lend themselves to easy answers. But they will provide an opportunity for us as parents to teach some valuable lessons – about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away.
We can teach our children that here in America, we embrace each other, and support each other, in times of crisis. And we can help them do that in their own small way – whether it’s by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts.
We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.
We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.
Christina Green felt that call. She was just nine years old when she lost her life. But she was at that store that day because she was passionate about serving others. She had just been elected to her school’s student council, and she wanted to meet her Congresswoman and learn more about politics and public life.
And that’s something else we can do for our children – we can tell them about Christina and about how much she wanted to give back. We can tell them about John Roll, a judge with a reputation for fairness; about Dorothy Morris, a devoted wife to her husband, her high school sweetheart, to whom she’d been married for 55 years; about Phyllis Schneck, a great-grandmother who sewed aprons for church fundraisers; about Dorwan Stoddard, a retired construction worker who helped neighbors down on their luck; and about Gabe Zimmerman, who did community outreach for Congresswoman Giffords, working tirelessly to help folks who were struggling, and was engaged to be married next year. We can tell them about the brave men and women who risked their lives that day to save others. And we can work together to honor their legacy by following their example – by embracing our fellow citizens; by standing up for what we believe is right; and by doing our part, however we can, to serve our communities and our country.
This letter was originally posted on the White House blog.
I just got through listening to a Fox News commentary regarding the above letter. Basically, they couldn't believe that First Lady Michelle Obama would link civility to the tragedy and that she missed the "lesson to be learned".
First of all...did they even read the whole thing? This is a letter to PARENTS regarding their children. This letter was saying "You know what, in this day and age, kids are going to hear a lot about the tragedy. Take this opportunity to talk to them. Answer their questions". At least thats my take away from this letter. That and a $1.50 will buy you a bottle of coke.
And what is she saying are some things she hopes we talk to them about? Supporting in times of crisis: whether it’s by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts. Teaching tolerance. Respecting those that serve our country and enter public life. And for me, most important of all, she focuses on the victims.
One thing that I just can't ever understand is our media focus on those that do something wrong and not mentioning those that the wrong was done too. Christina Green, the little girl who lost her life, is a great example of a child on a path of public service. How many children do you know who take the step of being elected to their schools policitical system (student council) and going to learn more about our country's? At nine years old? This little girl is who most of the news reports focus on when they talk about the victims. So I am very appreciative that the First Lady also mentions ALL of the victims, their names and things that they did. She finishes off her letter with this: And we can work together to honor their legacy by following their example – by embracing our fellow citizens; by standing up for what we believe is right; and by doing our part, however we can, to serve our communities and our country.
But if you were to listen to Fox News, she's totally missing the point, that the Left needs to be the ones focusing on civilty in political conversations, etc. She doesn't say ONE WORD about political conversations. The only part of this letter that even approaches this is :
We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree. and then later in the letter this: We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.
I just don't get why those in the media have to bash in this way. Why can't they just take something for what it is at face value? One person commenting on the Fox Nation website said that MO needs to stop being all over the map and pick something to support and stick with it. I think she has and what she's chosen to support are our children.
Now, a reminder. You have entered my, Jessica Poer's, slice of cyber space. This is where unicorns fart rainbows and cookies promote six-packed ab-ness. So fair warning, I'm about to say something POSITIVE about Michelle Obama. Feel free to stop reading and move on to something else. You won't hurt my feelings.
The things I see the most that Michelle Obama supports is being healthy. She's done some wonderful PSAs on the Disney channel, discussing being active and making good food choices. And horror of all horrors, she said you shouldn't eat dessert....everyday. Which I agree with. In the last three generations, children have gone from being sent out to play when the sun comes up and coming back home when the sun goes down to almost 3-5 hours on average of being in front of an electronic device. So if there is not the physical activity to burn up the fuel, it turns to fat. And, speaking from personal experience, fat is hard to get rid of. Why parents want to subject their children to a lifetime of difficulties is beyond me. I'm a firm believer
- That children can only eat what you let them.
- Picky eaters are made and not born. Good food choices are all about presentation and if I can get Banana (not little Trock, a Banana I knew before) to eat a chicken and broccolli dish, any child can be made to eat a dish with vegetables.
I digress. I was supposed to be praising MO. And I am. She's made the health of our children a focus and thats a good thing.
Sorry about the length of this blog but Fox News actually really pissed me off. It was a classic case of taking something, giving it an entirely unintended context and using it as a chance to bash. I'm hoping that by reading my blog, those who might not actually go out and read the letter from the First Lady and just bash that she did it, instead, will read it and re-think their bashing. Or at least find something that has merit to bash about.