Posted by: Jennifer | September 7, 2009

where’s the beef?

Tomorrow, US President Barak Obama will be addressing school children on their first day back to class, and his decision to speak to this particular group of Americans is apparently drawing some criticism. Many schools have pledged to not show the address to their student, and across American parents are promising to keep their children home on the first day so that they will not be forced to view the speech. The White House has released the text of the speech already, and I’m going to highlight my favourite section from it but if you would like to read the whole speech yourself you can do so here.

I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work — that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

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. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

I’m willing to admit that my Canadianism tends to give me a skewed view on things, but after reading this entire speech I’m really not understanding where the problem with it is. The speech is about trying harder, about doing your best, about not giving up, and about making a contribution to your education and to your community. Yes, these are values that we definitely should not be instilling in children. God forbid they get the idea that they are responsible for their own future. That’s just garbage and they shouldn’t be exposed to such socialist thinking.

Obama is trying to inspire children to do their best and succeed at life. Can someone please explain to me why would we not want children to get that message?



  1. Right-wingers are only interested in one thing: regaining power — thus the non-stop effort to destroy the Obama presidency.

  2. People don’t like it because god forbid anyone say that their kids might need to actually work for something and not get every thing handed to them on a friggin platter.

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