Good afternoon. Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues and friends:
I would like to welcome and thank all of you for joining me here today. I’m honored to serve as first lady of the United States and I look forward to sharing with each of you my sincere hopes for all that we will be able to do together to promote peace, human rights and human dignity, leaving no one behind, especially not our children.
The most important and joyous role I’ve ever had is to be a mother to my young son and what could possibly be more essential focus in everyone’s life than that of loving, educating and bringing up our next generation to be happy, productive and morally responsible adults? Together we must acknowledge that all too often it is the weakest, most innocent and vulnerable among us, our children, who ultimately suffer the most from the challenges that plague our societies. Whether it is drug addiction, bullying, poverty, disease, trafficking, illiteracy or hunger, it is the children who are hit first and hardest in any country. And as we all know, the future of every nation rests with the promise of their young people.
If you look at the present state of children in any society, we will see the future that our world can expect tomorrow. Show me your civic lessons of today and I will show you your civic leaders of tomorrow. Show me your history lessons of today and I will show you your political leaders of tomorrow. Show me the loving bonds between your families today and I will show you the patriotism and moral clarity of your nation tomorrow. Our choices on how we raise and educate our children will in fact provide the blueprint for the next generation.
If we do not advocate a love of country to our children and the generations to come, then why would our children grow up to fight for their country’s founding principals and moral truths? If we do not teach our children the importance of helping those less fortunate — wherever they may be — then why would they become caring adults who dedicate themselves to charity? If we do not ensure that our youth are to find a nation of community to reach beyond their own backyards, their own schools and their own town halls, then why would we expect to see a new generation of leaders with a moral conscience that includes all of humanity?
When we join together as parents, caring for children wherever they live, in our own families, across the street, across the nation, or across the globe, we claim our responsibility to the next generation to ensure they are prepared to accept the torch of leadership for the world of tomorrow. And make no mistake, this will always begin with us coming together to embrace parenthood’s noble calling.
Nothing could be more urgent nor worthy a cause than preparing future generations for adulthood with true moral clarity and responsibility. To achieve this we must come together for the good of our children, because through them our future will be defined.
Therefore, we must teach each child the values of empathy and communication that are at the core of kindness, mindfulness, integrity and leadership which can only be taught by example.
By our own example we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit. We must remember that they are watching and listening so we must never miss and opportunity to teach life’s many ethical lessons along the way.
As adults we are not merely responsible. We are accountable. I hope you will join me in committing ourselves to teaching the next generation to live by and honor the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, which is my paramount in today’s society and my focus as first lady.
It remains our generation’s moral imperative to take responsibility for what our children learn. We must turn our focus right now to the message and content they are exposed to on a daily basis through social media, the bullying, the experience online and in person, and the growing global epidemic of drug addiction and drug overdose.
No children should ever feel hungry, stalked, frightened, terrorized, bullied, isolated or afraid with nowhere to turn. We need to step up, come together and ensure that our children’s future is bright.
In the coming months I hope to reach out to each one of you here today to call upon you for your support and guidance and look forward to joining you in collaboration to support and educate our next generation. I’m asking leaders on social media whose target market for their products and platforms is children, as well as community and educational leaders to join me in this fight for the hopes and dreams of our children.
With all my heart, I want to thank you, each one of you, for being here today and tell you how much I’m looking forward to working with you on behalf of our children.
God bless our children, God bless our nations and God bless the United States of America.