President Obama on Parenting

Hi Mommies, still experiencing the Obamagasm? :D. That’s what great speakers do, they moved us, made us feel inspired after listening to the speech. Too bad we don’t get that from our leaders here.

Just like many people, I’m also a big fan of The United States President Barack Obama. He represents hope for so many people on so many levels. He was just a regular little boy here four decades ago, just like my son and your son, playing kites and catching dragonflies, but look what he has become now? No one in their right mind would’ve thought the possibility of it happening. And what does it tell us? That our kids can be somebody, regardless of his/her skin color, parent’s income level and background.

One of the things that I admire about Obama is his stands on parenting. He believes that good parenting doesn’t require money, everyone from all kinds of economic background can succeed in parenting, it just needs commitment and discipline from us as parents. Obama believes that good parenting benefits the entire society and can improve the lives of the next generation. It has been proven that children who have a concerned parent are most likely the ones who do well in school and in the community.

I was once read his interview in Essence Magazine about what he thinks parents should do to their kids. The points he made are not something new but yet there are many of us that lacks the commitment needed to execute them on daily basis.  Sometimes, even as parents, we can get off track and have to be reminded that our main responsibility is, to parent.

Here are the main points of his & Michelle’s parenting style:

  • NO TV on school night and bedtime is at 9 PM
    “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”
  • Stay in touch with the teachers
    Obama encourages parents to communicate regularly with the teachers in school, either by email, phone or communication book in addition to attending parents teachers conference. With his busy schedule as President – he has not missed a parent teacher conference yet!. Obama also encourages parents to be active in school by helping organize event, fund-raising activity, etc.
  • Set Expectation
    Parents need to set a reasonable expectation for their kids AND help them achieve those expectations. Children needs to know that they are expected to give their best effort in class and complete their homework. After you set the big goals,  break it down into smaller goals and support them to tackle those goals. Sit next to them when they do their projects, it’s not enough to just provide them with materials and supplies.
  • Read to our kids
    Reading is incorporated in every subjects in school, that’s why it’s essential for kids to develop a strong foundation in reading in order to be successful in school. Reading helps students to better understand complex ideas, in addition to improve vocabulary, spelling, grammars and speech.
  • Keep an eye on them
    We need to monitor our kids, not just academically but also personal development. We have to know what’s going on in their daily lives, who do they meet, what they eat, etc. Let them know that as parents, we’re committed to ensure they can reach personal and academic success. Talk to them about anything and have uninterrupted quality time together.

So that was what I gathered from the interview…and here’s what I learned from Obama’s speech this morning.

  • Kids are easy to please
    Obama’s memorable activities during his childhood here in Indonesia were; flying kites, running along paddy fields, catching dragonflies. So, if you live in a neighborhood that allows kids to play and run around outside, let them be. It will give them a more memorable childhood rather than being locked inside the house with their Nintendo.
  • Kids have to know their roots
    Obama begins his speech with “Indonesia is a part of me” statement. He seems to know well about his life and the life of his parents and grandparents back in the days. I think it’s important for kids to the family tree beyond the names and faces but also values and tradition. If we want to go far, we have to understand ourselves. And in order to fully understand ourselves, we have to know where we come from to get a sense of belonging, faith and pride of all the struggle and the battle their ancestors have gone through. It will also help them to feel connected and will make it easier for them to find their identity.
  • Prepare our kids to develop skills needed for their future. As quoted from his speech:
    “Development, after all, is not simply about growth rates and numbers on a balance sheet. It’s about whether a child can learn the skills they need to make it in a changing world. It’s about whether a good idea is allowed to grow into a business, and not be suffocated by corruption. It’s about whether those forces that have transformed the Jakarta that I once knew -technology and trade and the flow of people and goods – translate into a better life for human beings, a life marked by dignity and opportunity.”

How about you? What have you learned from his speech this morning? Care to share them with us?

If you miss the speech or just want to read it, here’s the complete script:

61 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Dear Mommies Daily,

    This is a very good article. Do you mind if I post it in my blog? For sure I will write the source.

    Thank you Mommies Daily, you are one of my inspiration for being the best mom for my son :)

  2. wow…is it a great piece of writing, Han!!
    pdhl gue bukan fans berat obama loh, tp gue sukses mewek dengerin speechnya kmrn. buat gue, pidatonya dia berhasil kembali menumbuhkan kepercayaan dan harapan gue thdp bangsa ini. mo dibuat2 apa engga tuh pidato, mo ada yg bilang US punya kepentingan thdp Indonesia (mana ada sih negara yg tulus 100%, face the fact aja.), it is the POTUS, who spoke highly of our beloved country! dan jd liputan di seantero jagat.
    and as i wrote on my FB status, i thank Obama for reminding me about how beautiful it was living in jakarta decades ago, and how proud we are to be known as bhinneka tunggal ika. A value that we almost forget :(

    doh jadi panjang bo :)

    1. Hanzky

      Miris ya Rik dengan fakta bahwa untuk menumbuhkan kembali kepercayaan dan harapan terhadap bangsa sendiri malah didapat dari presiden negara lain…:(.

      Btw gue juga jadi ngebayangin Jakarta tempoe doeloe seperti yang diceritain Obama, kayanya menyenangkan sekali ya….hidup di era yang salah nih kita :D

  3. Great article!
    I’m not a big fan of Obama personally, but I find this parenting style of his very admirable especially that bit about reading to your kids. I see some parents nowadays tend to let their kids become so out of touch with books. I remember my books and records when I was little… can’t thank my parents enough for introducing me to music and literature that early!

  4. i love the part when u quote obama’s speech about development.
    “It’s about whether a child can learn the skills they need to make it in a changing world.”
    Mengingatkan saya pada ucapan Bapak saya “apalah artinya nilai cemerlang di sekolah kalau tidak bisa kamu pakai di masa depan”
    Its all about skills not numbers.
    Btw salam kenal yah…. Masih newbie bgt nih di mommiesdaily ;p

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