Last week I was in a Obama mood. I stumbled upon a Obama collection of speeches and one really moved me. This was Michelle Obama’s 2012 Convention speech(DNC). She mentioned many things in praise of her husband in an effort to marshal votes for his second term to the white house.
One of the astounding things she says about Obama, her grandmother and particularly her father is the value for hard work. She narrates her father’s struggles to raise her and her brother fighting with a myriad of economic demands but still emerging strong. She watched her father wake up daily to go to work even when she was in pain from sickness. He never missed a day and he did everything to make sure that his children went through college. According to Michelle, her father’s measure of a successful life was doing what gave him inner happiness and contentment – that what mattered most.
Values in the old generation parenting
The values that parents of her generation instilled in their children were hard work and giving their all in whatever they did. This was her basis of calling for the American people to vote for Obama. That the issues the families face, the struggles and challenges the American people go through on a daily basis are dear to her and Obama because of their parents and grand mothers’ struggles. The need for hard work, responsibility, equality and fairness for all are what the Obamas stood for.
It is moving to listen to some of the American leaders speak on the issues that are central to forging a nation’s unity. Obama repeatedly talks of unity of purpose, a resolve for hard work, honesty and unwavering hope. These values are also mentioned in Bill Clinton’s biography-My Life.
This on the background of love for money at all costs, gospel of shortcuts to success, nepotism, corruption and survival for the fittest is a contrast. Proper value system is the pillar of justice and fairness for all. In a system that treasures hard work for success, honesty and appointments based on merit, everyone gets what they truly deserve. What do we value in our lives, work place or homes? It easy to justify that times have changed that the above ideal are no longer of essence in our dysfunctional system. The challenge we face is living a life that risks having no authority or content to inform the future generations.
History judges us based on the most fundamental ideals we stood for. We identify with some of the notable world figures for what they championed- equality of races by Mandela and Martin Luther Jr, non violent existence for Mahatma and sustainable environment by Wangari Maathai.
The measure of a person’s value system is assessed by their ability to look at a kid straight in the eye and tell them of what is right or wrong and truly believe what came out of their mouth. We are proud people who want to be remembered for our contribution to the stories in the books of family and national history. We want stories that talk of unending struggles, tribulations, and conquest. That is what we want to believe.
But do we have the moral ground to advice our children on issues of right and wrong based on what defines our daily lives?
On a different perspective, you are lucky if your wife can have so much “positive” to say about you-albeit in front of the camera for election’s sake. If your wife was caught hiring assassins to hunt your head, all you can ask is where did it start raining on you.
Disclaimer: the article is not a political analysis nor is it an approval on the content of her speech as truth. It picks the passion of a woman in praise of her husband and what she thinks he holds dear and would always champion for at all costs.
- Wangari Maathai: Inspiring Ecological and Political Change (theculturetrip.wordpress.com)