Below is an email I just sent to our local Glenn Beck group, of which I am a member. Of course, my aim is to get a few of those parents to actually listen to an entire Obama address, unfiltered by right-wing pundits. It might be the first time for many of them, and I'm betting a lot of them will be astonished to find they agree with everything he says. But, FWIW, here is my message:
I hope you'll forgive my $.02 here, as I have never had kids and never will, but I do have some thoughts on some parents' plans to keep their kids out of school Tuesday on account of Obama's address.
I think those who do keep their kids home are doing the kids and themselves a great disservice. The first day of school is where friendship cliques begin to form, and where kids begin to figure out the teacher's style and expectations, and what the year has in store for them. All the kids are on the same footing that first day, and anybody who comes in on the second day will already be behind the power curve, having to play catch-up. I don't feel this is the right way to begin a challenging school year.
Also, it sends the wrong message: to fear dissenting opinions rather than hearing them out and developing a sane, rational rebuttal based on facts. This critical thinking skill will serve them lifelong. What better opportunity for them to start developing it?
A better option, in my opinion, is to go to school with your children that day. This gives you a chance to meet the teacher, the other kids, and most likely a few other parents, because you won't be the only one. It can also serve as a great springboard for discussion, as you can sit down with your children later and pick their brains: "What stood out most for you in the speech? What does that mean to you? Does it fit with what you believe? What alternatives might be better?" etc. This kind of discussion could give you great insight into your children's worldview and how equipped they are to think for themselves.
Just my opinion. I welcome any comments, of course.