President Obama’s Speech on Education – September 8, 2009
I am a mother to 3 boys and my oldest just started school. I truly appreciated the speech given by President Obama at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia on September 8th, 2009. It was not a speech on policy, but rather one giving encouragement. Today, our youth face many distractions – from television to video games to drugs…the list goes on and on. I appreciated Obama saying “sometimes you get that 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. Chances are you’re not going to be any of those things. The truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject that you study. You won’t click with every teacher that you have. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right at this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try….you can’t let your failures define you — you have to let your failures teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently the next time.”
You know the saying “Practice makes perfect?” That is immediately what came to my mind when he was talking. The saying “Don’t ever give up” often spoken by my father-in-law also came to my mind. Obama continued by saying “Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. 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’s why I succeed.'”
The President encouraged hard work. Obama pointed out that “No one’s born being good at all things. You become good at things through hard work.”
He encouraged students by saying to them, “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 because it shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and that then allows you to learn something new. So find an adult that you trust — a parent, a grandparent or teacher, a coach or a counselor — and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.”
I also appreciated his comments on students of the past, when he said “The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best. It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and they founded this nation. Young people. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google and Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.”
I think that overall, his speech was encouraging and should be something that students and parents all over America watch or read. He was not “indoctrinating” anyone but was encouraging students to do their best and never give up. They are the future of our country. Why not encourage them to have the best and make the most of their lives? Thank you for an inspiring speech President Obama.
You can watch it on video HERE.
You can read his speech HERE.