From Mrs. Obama to Our HeartsPosted: May 27, 2011
Today First Lady Michelle Obama visited a prestigious girls school to give a rare glimpse into her life in the White House. In prepared remarks followed by a Q&A at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, she talked about what made her attracted to Obama and how she raises her daughters.
Amongst other things, she opined that, if parents focused on basic reading skills and just reading to their kids every night before bed instead of watching an extra hour of TV, we’d be setting them up to perform better in school.
In her words, “Read, write, read, read. If the president were here–one of his greatest strengths is reading. That’s one of the reasons why he’s a good communicator, why he’s such a good writer. He’s a voracious reader. So we’re trying to get our girls, no matter what, to just be–to love reading and to challenge themselves with what they read, and not just read the gossip books but to push themselves beyond and do things that maybe they wouldn’t do.
“So I would encourage you all to read, read, read. Just keep reading. And writing is another skill. It’s practice. It’s practice. The more you write, the better you get. Drafts–our kids are learning the first draft means nothing. You’re going to do seven, 10 drafts. That’s writing, it’s not failure, it’s not the teacher not liking you because it’s all marked up in red. When you get to be a good writer, you mark your own stuff in red, and you rewrite, and you rewrite, and you rewrite. That’s what writing is.”
“Well meaning but misguided people sometimes questioned whether someone with my background could succeed. I had all kinds of worries and fears and doubts before I entered. I worried that I wouldn’t be as well prepared as students who had come from more privileged families. I worried that I wouldn’t fit in somewhere so different from where I’d grown up.
“But after a few months in college, away from home on my own, I realized that I was just as capable and I had just as much to offer any of my classmates. I realized that if I worked hard enough, I could do just as well as anyone else.”