Obama's Inauguration is Important for Kids Too

| by Dr Gwenn
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!

Tomorrow 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."

Obama 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!