Sunday, January 18, 2009

"What I want for...every Child in America"

As I sit at my computer desk looking out my office window at the majestic, panoramic view of snow-capped Mt. San Gorgonio, I can't help but be inspired and hopeful. I can see for miles on this clear eve of M.L.K.jr. Day and the upcoming 44th Presidential Inaugural. I so want to be optimistic for our Country and Its Future (Its Children especially) They continue to be the "Building Blocks" of all the great and wonderful things to which we individuals, as families, as communities and as a nation. We hope to be able to "line them up straight" and prepare them for their "brave new world".

In the Los Angeles Times' Parade Magazine today there is a "letter" written by our President-Elect, Barack Obama to his daughters. I'd like to quote from this letter:

"When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me - about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation."
"I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential - schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college - even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity."
..."That was the lesson your grandmother tried to teach me when I was your age, reading me the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence and telling me about the men and women who marched for equality because they believed those words put to paper two centuries ago should mean something."
"She helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better - and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It's a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be."
"I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much - although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential."
"These are the things I want for you - to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure."
"I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful everyday for your patience, poise, grace and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House."
This sums it up for me and says it better than I could. It is still what I want for my sons and their children. It is the reason I'm still teaching and volunteering in our public school classrooms. Our President-elect has asked that tomorrow, M.L.K. Day, to be a day of "In Service" to our country. I say, let's strech it out to days, weeks and years. We need it. RRR

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