Sherry Jones was driving her 13-year-old son, Malcolm, to school the other morning when he mentioned something about some kid he didn’t like.
Something about the kid being a jerk.
Jones told him that wasn’t kind. When you speak of people, she said, always speak good of them.
“Look at Barack! . . . During the campaign, no matter what, Obama always took the high road,” she told him. “During the debates when John McCain would say a dig, Barack would never react. . . . He was always positive.”
Malcolm, who likes a good debate, was, for that moment, quiet.
In that silence, Jones realized that something about her spontaneous, trapped-in-the-car lecture was working. “If my son didn’t agree, he would let me know,” says Jones, an accountant who lives in Silver Spring. “He always has something else to say. . . . Usually, he will say, ‘Yeah, but . . . ‘ When I use Barack Obama as an example, I can see him. He’s quiet. He may sit up a little straighter.
Be Like Barack! What about lying about the "bad kids" he is hanging around? Will he use the Obama defense? I didn't know Reverend Wright was saying those things, I thought Bill Ayers was reformed, no idea about Tony Rezko, no idea about Blago...
Obama has become that nice man up the street you want your kid to grow up to be like.
Is this like the Arrested Development song "Mr. Wendell"?
"Yes," says Amber, 14, an eighth-grade student, "because Obama can do it. I see myself studying harder. I stay more focused. I take more notes. I am asking a lot more questions."
Obama discipline is complicated. Kids relate to him in a way that they say they have not related to other politicians. He might be the president-elect, but he's cool, he's young, he speaks a language they understand.
That's right, he's cool, he's young, he's hip. The Cool-in-Chief.
"He's different than other presidents," Malcolm Jones says. "He has kids who are young. And he was endorsed by a lot of icons."
Well, if he was endorsed by Oprah and Sean Penn...I stand corrected.
Harlan Jones, director of the New Sewell Music Conservatory in Northwest Washington (and no relation to Malcolm), is sitting in his office talking about Obama with his 12-year-old daughter, Nia, a sixth-grader whose grades have slipped from her usual straight A's.Hope and Change! Is that what the next four years are going to be like? Will the media at least pretend not to be in love with the ObamaCon?
"You have to get back on page, just like he did," he tells Nia. "We know you are better because you exemplified that through past studies. Suppose he had gotten down? With that in mind, Nia, please straighten up. Look at his strategy. He surrounded himself with people who were hardworking. . . . Who are your supporters?"
"My parents," Nia says, submitting to the lecture.
"I'm glad you said that. . . . You have a support system to do what?"
And Nia, tidy in her blue-and khaki school uniform, obediently answers, "Succeed."