News and views by retired editor-publisher, former chairman of the American Society of Magazine Editors, co-blogger on The Moderate Voice
Obama's Parenting Advice
Friday, February 29, 2008
While Hillary Clinton reminds voters that, if she wins, they can tell their daughters a woman can be President, Barack Obama is going deeper into parenting advice.
After a programmatic answer about issues in education to a mostly African-American audience in Beaumont, Texas, according to Shailagh Murray of the Washington Post, Obama asked, "Can I make this one last point?" and went into a riff about the role of parents.
"It's not good enough for you to say to your child, 'Do good in school.' And then your child comes home, you've got the TV set on, you've got the radio on, you don't check their homework, there's not a book in the house, you've got the video game playing.
"So, turn off the TV set, put the video game away, buy a little desk. Watch them do their homework. If they don't know how to do it, give them help. If you don't know how to do it, call the teacher. Make them go to bed at a reasonable time. Give them some breakfast."
As the crowd cheered, Obama asked, "Can I get an 'Amen' here?"
"Since I'm on a roll, if your child misbehaves in school, don't cuss out the teacher. You know I'm right about that. Don't cuss out the teacher, do something with your child. I'm speaking the truth. I'm telling you, I won't just tell you what you want to hear."
From there , he turned to nutrition.
"We can't keep on feeding our children junk all day long, giving them no exercise," he said. "They're overweight by the time they're four or five years old and then we're surprised when they get sick. And then we expect that they're going to get treated for things like adult diabetes that children never used to get...But now kids as young as 8, 9, 10 years old are getting it because they are obese. So part of what my health care plan does then is we work with parents, work with families to change nutrition habits.
"Look, I've got a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old daughter, so I know how hard it is to get kids to eat properly, but I also know that if we are...letting kids drink eight sodas a day--which some parents do--or eat a bag of potato chips for lunch or Popeye's for breakfast -- y'all have Popeye's down in Beaumont? All right...I know! That's why you're all laughing. I caught you out. You can't do that! Children have to have proper nutrition."
For years, Hillary Clinton has been saying that it takes a village to raise children properly. Now Obama is taking it further and telling them how.