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Michelle Obama's Advice to Parents in Wake of Tucson Shooting

4 years ago
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First Lady Michelle Obama is offering advice to parents who are struggling to help their children understand the horrific Tucson massacre that killed six and wounded 14, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.)
Mrs. Obama accompanied President Obama to the Tucson memorial service for the victims Wednesday at the University of Arizona, sitting next to Mark Kelly, the NASA astronaut who is Giffords' husband.
Her main advice: use the tragedy to teach kids about faith, compassion, hope and community service.
A White House official told Politics Daily, "It was something she personally wanted to do and knew exactly what she wanted to say. She decided to do it before the memorial service."

Like so many Americans all across the country, Barack and I were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of violence committed in Arizona this past weekend. Yesterday, we had the chance to attend a memorial service and meet with some of the families of those who lost their lives, and both of us were deeply moved by their strength and resilience in the face of such unspeakable tragedy.
As parents, an event like this hits home especially hard. It makes our hearts ache for those who lost loved ones. It makes us want to hug our own families a little tighter. And it makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in – and the world in which our children will grow up.
In the days and weeks ahead, as we struggle with these issues ourselves, many of us will find that our children are struggling with them as well. The questions my daughters have asked are the same ones that many of your children will have – and they don't lend themselves to easy answers. But they will provide an opportunity for us as parents to teach some valuable lessons – about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away.
We can teach our children that here in America, we embrace each other, and support each other, in times of crisis. And we can help them do that in their own small way – whether it's by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts.
We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.
We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.
Christina Green felt that call. She was just 9 years old when she lost her life. But she was at that store that day because she was passionate about serving others. She had just been elected to her school's student council, and she wanted to meet her congresswoman and learn more about politics and public life.
And that's something else we can do for our children – we can tell them about Christina and about how much she wanted to give back. We can tell them about John Roll, a judge with a reputation for fairness; about Dorothy Morris, a devoted wife to her husband, her high school sweetheart, to whom she'd been married for 55 years; about Phyllis Schneck, a great-grandmother who sewed aprons for church fundraisers; about Dorwan Stoddard, a retired construction worker who helped neighbors down on their luck; and about Gabe Zimmerman, who did community outreach for Congresswoman Giffords, working tirelessly to help folks who were struggling, and was engaged to be married next year. We can tell them about the brave men and women who risked their lives that day to save others. And we can work together to honor their legacy by following their example – by embracing our fellow citizens; by standing up for what we believe is right; and by doing our part, however we can, to serve our communities and our country.
Michelle Obama

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anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.

if only that were true Michelle. Better to teach children that public servants in a democracy have an obligation to the citizens to be honest and forthright..

January 14 2011 at 2:18 PM +3

What does anything she is saying have anything to do with this at all? This is about a mentally deranged killer who took innocent lives!Not Politics and love of country!!

January 14 2011 at 2:06 PM +32
1 reply to Stevie's comment

If the same people had died in a motor accident on the way to tour the Capitol we would still note that they were engaged in the activities we value in our political process (free speech, freedom of assembly etc.). The deranged killer does not subtract from what they were doing or who they were.

So it is fitting for us to reflect on politics and love of country.

January 14 2011 at 2:20 PM -1

How about we "teach" them not to dance on the graves of the victims by using a tragedy to further a political agenda or message?

January 14 2011 at 2:05 PM +31

With all the funds for Mental health that the president has taken away, How can she get up there & say that we have to pick up the slack. Its like talking out of both sides of her mouth!

January 14 2011 at 2:04 PM +5
1 reply to ROUND TUIT's comment

So true!!

January 14 2011 at 2:19 PM +1

The First Ladys advise about teaching children after such a tragedy is commendable but I'm hoping the good people of Arizona have learned something as well. Arizona as well as Virginia, have a statute on their books for involuntary Psychiatric evaluations. Say if you believe someone is behaving in such a manner that they could be a danger to themselves or others you can have them evaluated without their consent and despite their age. Had this been done with Jared Loughner could this have been averted? Don't know but it's worth the try.

January 14 2011 at 2:04 PM +10

When the Government stopped subsidizing mental hospitals alot of them had to close their doors and all of their inhabitants wound up on the street. It's the Governments fault there are so many crazy people walking the streets.

January 14 2011 at 1:55 PM +4

What makes Michelle Obama qualified to give me advice on what to tell my kids in the aftermath of a massacre by a psychotic killer!

January 14 2011 at 1:49 PM +41
1 reply to gimamm's comment

It amazes me why you can't stand to listen to or read a few words from the first lady. Yet, you are able to listen to the same thing from a pastor's wife and feel empathy. What a bunch of hypocrites!! You say one thing and do another. There's no difference if it comes from the first lady's mouth or a rural pastor's wife's mouth... if it is to encourage and help others...then let it stand.

January 14 2011 at 2:06 PM -1

Just tell your children that they never have to be afraid,you will always love and protect them!This has nothing to do with love of country! Just love your children and protect them as much as you can!!

January 14 2011 at 1:49 PM +27

if michelle obama had been listening to glenn beck, he has been talking about this very same thing for years. becks last gathering in washington on 8/28, was exactly on this very thing. sarah palin has been talking and showing how love of family, and being honest with your children is the right thing to do. palins alaska show, brings out family togetherness, and solving problems. shawn hannity talks about telling the truth, and family honor, and what he does with his children, and being a tennis dad, rush limbaugh has talked about how lucky we are to live in america, and how individual effort, and hard work, will bring you success, and how his parents expected excellence....where you been michelle? we all been there, done that.

January 14 2011 at 1:45 PM +22
1 reply to alpambuena's comment

Woah! Wait a minute. I don't think those folks have anything to do with Michelle's letter. I don't want to be negative so I will just say, go back and check your sources. Mrs. Obabma is a godsend to the country right now.

January 14 2011 at 2:19 PM -2

What one of our politicans should be doing is creating a greater understanding of mental illness in this country. The services that are available to mentally ill persons are minimal at best. The stigma surrounding mental illness and the familes of those with mental illness stop many people from getting the help they need. This country sends huge amounts of money to many other countries while it's own citizens are left homeless and helpless. People with mental illness are ignored, bullied, feared and hated. Sadly, those with mental illness are our forgotten citizens, until a tragedy stikes. A close second are out senior citizens.

January 14 2011 at 1:40 PM +25

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