Like I mentioned yesterday, I will be watching President Obama’s speech to America’s school children with my children later today. We have little ones around here, so we’ll be using the elementary lesson plans, legal or not. Actually, we’ll be focusing specifically on this question, because it fits perfectly with some ongoing conversations we have been having around here:
Why is it important that we listen to the president and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important? Classroom Activities, Pre-K-6 (pdf)
I’ll let you know my children’s answers to that later, after I ask them, but here are mine:
I. I’m Christian, and the bible is pretty clear:
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. –1Peter 2:13-16 (KJV)
I consider myself blessed to live in a nation whose ordinances allow me considerable liberty to express my disagreement with established authority, but I try very hard to apply this verse especially to my discussions: “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men…” By well doing hearts and minds are changed, not by inflammatory rhetoric.
II. These are our elected leaders, and our responsibility as citizens is pretty clear.
The Salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen. –Hartley Burr Alexander, inscribed on the Nebraska State Capitol Building
If we do not listen, we cannot know, and if we do not know, we cannot act. Listening precedes all useful action, something I fear some may be forgetting.
Please share your thoughts on the prepared speech, the speech as it is delivered and the accompanying lesson plans. If you had the stage, what would you tell America’s youth? And what have you told your own children?