President Obama is like a Kindergarten teacher – patiently bringing his pupils along. We the pupils are not so patient. This reminds me of a story about one of my grandchildren.
Jubilum is one of the younger children in my growing family. She is as sharp as a whip, quick as a snap, curious as a cat, and I fear has inherited my lack of patience. She watched her older siblings go off to school and she watched them enjoy reading in the evening. There was nothing she wanted more than to learn how to read. She was told she would go to school one day and the school would teach her the necessary reading skills. She waited, but not patiently.
Finally the day came when she was shuttled off to Kindergarten. I don’t know for sure about her parents, but I waited impatiently for her return – and her report on the benefits of an education. She came home after one day at Kindergarten and her mother asked her, “Did you enjoy your first day at school?”
Jubilum answered with dejected scorn, “Well, they did not teach me how to read.”
We the pupils are like that. President Obama came to office in one of the most traumatic times in United States History. He told us he would be a different sort of politician. He told us he would address the economic crisis immediately. He told us he would help create more jobs. He told us he would end the war in Iraq. He told us he would take the war to Osama Bin Laden.
We the pupils are saying, with dejected scorn, “He did not teach us how to read” – or something like that.
Like reading, economics and foreign affairs are complex sciences. Like reading one does not just turn on a light and master the skill. Jubilum is a very smart person – but even Jubilum had to learn the alphabet first, then basic phonics, and then hours, days, weeks, and months of practice to be able to read elementary writing. I was better at reading reading than I was at reading writing.
Economic recovery is much like the process of teaching a child to read. First things first – there are prerequisite tasks to be performed – there is a critical path to success and that path cannot be hurried.
But we the pupils remain like children, impatient for the rewards promised. And the pupils who harbor repressed anger, who cannot understand process, or simply do not like the teacher blame the teacher for their failure to read.
When is America going to grow up and grasp the concept of patience, tolerance, and First things First.