- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Column:

It’s been just a week since the historic election that will put President-elect Barack Obama in the White House on Jan. 20, and we can expect that he’ll move quickly to bring about the change he promised for two years on the campaign trail.

However, I hope we’re not expecting Mr. Obama to do what must be done for America’s children.

Wait a minute - didn’t we just endure roughly 36 months of rallies and rhetoric promising to restore good government, economic security and unlimited opportunity for our children? Didn’t Mr. Obama assure us he knows how to make this a safer world for the next generation?

Didn’t he invoke “America’s children” while taking the moral high ground on every issue from the federal debt and the price of crude to greed on Wall Street and anger on Main Street?

He did. And I have no doubt he meant every word of what he said. But I also know one thing for sure: This president will not do what must be done to assure a safe, bountiful and productive future for America’s children.

That’s because no president can.

Our children will find opportunity and success through improved education. But no president can assure the proper education of our children.

Only we parents can ignite a love of learning to fuel their quest for knowledge; only we can nurture and support our children’s curiosity until it ripens into a lifelong passion for discovery and mastery.

Our children’s prosperity and the stability of the economy they inherit depend ultimately on the responsible behavior of individuals. But no president can instruct our children to be responsible.

Only we parents can teach them proper values about money and materialism to encourage them toward a life of ingenuity, productivity, integrity and effort; only we can show them that the surest path to prosperity is an honest day’s work and a willingness to save.

America relies on the spirit of goodwill that calls people to care for one another in times of need. But no president can imbue in our children a sense of compassion.

Only we parents can teach by our example that service to others feeds the soul and nurtures the bonds of friendship that define a community, and thus a nation.

This country - this land of opportunity - thrives on optimism that allows its children to dream of a future without limits. But no president can provide our children with the means to happiness and success.

Only we parents can propel them toward their dearest dreams by sparking their desire to become all they were created to be and by raising the bar of our expectations to reflect our confidence in their abilities.

The United States will always need young men and women who are ready, willing and able to serve and protect our great country. But no president can inspire our children to be patriots.

Only we parents can instill a love of American ideals great enough to motivate our sons and daughters to put their lives at risk for their fellow countrymen and the homeland we share.

If you voted last week for the presidential candidate you believed would make things better for your children and the generations to follow, I fear you put your faith in the wrong person.

No president can do the job that only you were called to do.

As this new era in American leadership unfolds, we ought to remember it is we parents, and not our president, who must lead our families as we “secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.”

• Visit Marybeth Hicks at www.marybethhicks.com.

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