All eyes world-wide will be on Washington, D.C., tomorrow with
Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the
United States of America. Of course, as much interest as there is in
the Inauguration itself, there is equal, if not more, interest in the
post-Inauguration events and what the First Family will be wearing!
around noon, most of us will be pausing the grind of our daily lives to
watch this historic event, including our children in most elementary,
middle and high schools.
Our daughters' Middle School emailed a
note to parents last week notifying us that the entire school would be
divided into two groups and sent to the community places within the
school around noon to watch Obama's swearing in and acceptances speech
live. The middle school principal explained that all grades have been
learning and discussing the "historical significance" if this
particular election year and to "bear witness" to the actual event is
important as well as educational.
Reading the email, I was
momentarily transported back in time to my own childhood. I was in 4th
grade and Carter was being sworn in as President. I remember sitting
with my friends and my teacher around a very small black and white
television set. We were all still very much confused about things like
the electoral college but we did have some recognition that what we
were watching was important. Interestingly, that was in the same school
system as my kids are attending today. It's good to know that some
traditions have not been lost over time.
Obama's theme tomorrow is "Renewing America's Promise". Obama explained the reason for this theme in this statement: "At
this moment of great challenge and great change, renewing the promise
of America begins with renewing the idea that in America, we rise or
fall as one nation and one people. That sense of unity and shared
purpose is what this Inauguration will reflect."
has echoed these ideas during the many news appearances he has had
since being elected last November. His honesty and calm demeanor have
been able to provide our country with a much needed shot of hope during
one of the bleakest economic times many of us have ever seen. This is
just the type of message that our children need to hear and experience
- from Obama and from us.
Tomorrow, I suggest we all have a
To-Do list that focuses on the essentials only and leaves room for
watching the important parts of the Inauguration and even some of the
Inauguration Ball with our kids. The best way to teach children that
some moments in time are important is to include them in those moments
in time regardless of age.
Young children who won't be viewing
the inauguration in school can view it with you on your computer. They
won't get all the ins and outs of the moment but will get how important
it is from your demeanor. They'll also take away that Obama's
Inauguration represents hope because of how you are feeling. If nothing
else, they'll have a memory that they'll be able to recall someday to
retell to their own children.
For your older kids who watched
the Inauguration in school, find a time to pick their brains about what
they thought and felt while watching the swearing in and speech. Just
remember to listen and hear what they have to say without tossing in
your ideas. Your older kids may also enjoy watching some of the ball
and eyeing the fashion we've heard so much about. Obama didn't allow
much celebration when he first was elected but becoming President is
reason to celebrate and marks the dawning of a new age as a country.
It's important for him and his family and staff - and it's important
for all of us.
So, allow yourself and your kids a little extra
tube time tomorrow to indulge in a bit of history we won't see again
for at least 4 more years - if not 8!
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