Thanks to my friend Bethani, I just started learning Spanish on Duolingo. So far, I’m on a four-day streak. Why, you might ask? As I answered on Facebook:
It’s only a five minute commitment each day,1 and you can learn useful phrases like, “I am not a girl” and “I drink wine.” Those are useful additions to phrases I already know, like, “I do not speak Spanish” and “I like a beer, please.” Besides, research is showing that learning a second language keeps the brain sharp, may prevent/delay Alzheimer’s, and makes you irresistible. Well, I made up that last one, but I’m sure it’s true. Just ask mi novia, Suzi. ;-)
I’m using both my smartphone and computer for the course. My phone is more convenient, but my computer doesn’t have autocorrect, so it forces me to learn the spellings.
President Obama posted the full text of the speech he’ll deliver to students tomorrow. Here’s an excerpt:
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Was this speech that Obama planned to deliver the whole time? I don’t know. I don’t care. I’ll give Obama the benefit of the doubt. I want my son to hear this and be inspired to learn.
Update (Sept. 8, 2009). Imagine my surprise when Jamison told me he hadn’t hear Obama’s speech at school today. I never imagined that a public school in Oregon wouldn’t show the speech to 6th graders. Huh.