It's been over a week since the President of the United States made his grand speech to the Boy Scouts. How hard is it to go give a speech to a room full kids? Just cover the basics. Talk about perseverance and pride. Tell them you are proud of their commitment and their hard work. Give them a little pep talk about all of the amazing life skills they have learned. Tell them they rock at all the boy-scouty-things they do. It's not rocket science.
I know I am late with this post, but I took a break from blogging and reading to go watch my nephew play in the state finals for Little League. I'm really quite glad they didn't secure the president to throw out the opening pitch to the young men of Michigan that worked so hard to get to Charlevoix. I imagine it would have left them all stunned and confused. I imagine that's how some of the Boy Scouts felt after that speech.
The speech has been swirling around in my head for some time. How is this OK? How will it impact the kids in our classrooms? What are we going to say to the kids about sportsmanship and respect? I've taught a lot of social studies during my career. I have REALLY strong opinions about politics. You know who I never talk to about my political opinions??? MY STUDENTS.
It's my job to teach them about the world and let them figure out how to generate their own ideas. It's up to me to give them the freedom to think and analyze, and to decide for themselves what they think. I shouldn't have been shocked my Trump's speech to the Boy Scouts...but alas.
The President of the United States stood up in front of roughly 40,000 Boy Scouts and said some of the most asinine things I have ever heard. He started his speech with some craziness about how the press would say there aren't very many people at the Jamboree. I think someone neglected to tell 45 that the event was not in his honor. They ALWAYS have that many boys. It's a Jamboree. So when he asked the following question, I cringed...
"Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I'm in front of the Boy Scouts?"
Nobody, sir. But I have a feeling you will anyways. And he did. The vast majority of his speech was about his political issues and recounting his perceived successes. I have just one question. Who the hell starts a speech to the Boy Scouts with WHO THE HELL??? They're BOY SCOUTS!!! I did a little research on the Boy Scout Creed and I found this:
From what I can see...POTUS was unable to get through one speech with any of the Boy Scout values in tact. Instead of friendly and courteous, he was rude and obnoxious. Instead of cheerful and kind, he made backhanded comments and presented himself as a sore winner. And I am not sure what is brave about standing up in front of 40,000 adolescent boys and talking about winning the electoral college, particularly since they were unable to vote in the election. They are kids.
I'm pretty sure he wasn't being exactly "clean" either. He talked to them (again, 40,000 teenage boys) about a cocktail party in NYC that happened decades ago, before they were born. He felt the need to recount his glory days in NYC's high society. Sir...these are BOY SCOUTS.
And have no fear...POTUS proclaimed, in front of 40,000 boys aged 12-18, that they need not worry because EVERYONE would be saying Merry Christmas again. And says, "believe me." And when I heard this little gem I wondered about the Jewish Boy Scouts and the Muslim Boy Scouts, and the Atheist Boy Scouts and, well, you get the point.
The lack of respect 45 has for diverse people, cultures, religions and beliefs is not a shock. I shouldn't have been shocked that he gave a speech like this to a room full of kids. And I most certainly shouldn't have been shocked when he blatantly lied and said the Boy Scout leaders called him up and said it was the single greatest speech ever given at a Jamboree. Boy Scouts are supposed to be trustworthy, and it seems POTUS wouldn't make the cut. He wouldn't even come close.
What do we say to the kids? How do you explain to your Hindu students that the leader of our country believes that they, too, should be saying Merry Christmas? How can a teacher make sense of this to kids that are 11 years old? How can we be effective in teaching kids to be respectful when Donald Trump can stand in front of a Jamboree and put Barack Obama down and encourage them to do the same?
This Presidency is a game changer for teachers. I'm just not sure what the rules are yet.