Let’s Talk Presidents
Hi Everyone. It’s me, Scoop, your cub reporter from The Shady Pines Gazette news. President’s Day is coming up fast. Here in the news office, we’ve been kicking around ideas about what this day means to kids growing up today.
My editor, Zulah Talmadge, asked me to talk about my favorite U.S. president.
I had to think about that for a minute. I have two favorite presidents of the United States, if you really want to know. So, I’ll start with George Washington.
You may already know that Washington one of the founding fathers of this country. He was also named Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army on June 19, 1775.
He led the fight to gain our country’s independence from the British. General Washington not only became our first elected president but he left office voluntarily after his second term. By doing that, he introduced the idea of term limits.
There’s one story about Washington that sticks with me. The actual event may not be true, but the lesson is a good one.
George Washington and The Myth
In school, we learned the cherry tree myth is the most well-known and longest-lasting legend about the first American president. In the original story, when Washington was six years old he received a hatchet as a gift. He didn’t mean to but he accidentally damaged his father’s cherry tree.
When his father found out what he had done, he became angry and asked his son for the truth. Young George bravely said, “I cannot tell a lie…I did cut it with my hatchet.” Washington’s father hugged him and said that his son’s honesty was worth more than a thousand trees.
President Abraham Lincoln
That story meant something because my parents are always telling me how important it is to be honest. And that brings me to my second, favorite, present. After all, Abraham Lincoln’s nickname was, “Honest Abe.”
Do you know that Abraham Lincoln became our 16th president on March 4, 1861? He was known for his honesty way back when he was a teenager like me. That’s really cool.
The future president was first called “Honest Abe” when he was working as a young store clerk in New Salem, Illinois. People in town say that whenever Lincoln realized he had shortchanged a customer by a few pennies, he would close the shop and deliver the correct change – no matter of how far he had to walk.
People were impressed with him and were soon asking him to act as judge or referee in various contests, fights, and arguments. According to Robert Rutledge of New Salem, “Lincoln’s judgment was final in all that region of the country. People relied upon his honesty, integrity, and fairness.”
Honest Abe The Statesman
The other thing that impresses me about Lincoln is that he came from a very poor background and worked hard all his life. He was best known for his amazing ability to split wood.
As a president, he led us through the Civil War, one of the darkest periods in our history. Here he is meeting with the Union troops.
Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address at the site of a famous Civil War battle includes one of the most important notions about our country ever stated: “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” That statement still gives me chills.
So, what I would tell little kids who ask me why I like these presidents, I think these two men demonstrate what it is to be a leader. They also were the kinds of people we’d love to have as neighbors here in Shady Pines Story Town.
After all, the people who live in this small Southern town believe that we need to treat other people the way we’d like to be treated. Presidents Washington and Lincoln symbolize many of the qualities we all wish we had.
Why don’t you let us know what president you admire? Leave a comment below
About Mary Jane McKittrick
Mary Jane McKittrick is dedicated to creating Character-Driven Stories that Inspire Kids to be Good and Kind. Through her Shady Pines Story Town website (which won the Mom’s Choice Gold Award) she offers the Mom’s Choice Gold Award-winning Boomer and Halley book series; The Shady Pines Way Blog; The Shady Pines Gazette news; activity packets with stories*coloring pages*recipes*puzzles; A Write to Win contest; civility guides, and more. A native of Los Angeles, California, Mary Jane’s career spans television entertainment, TV broadcast news as an anchor, featured health care reporter and producer at three network affiliates, corporate communications, and consulting. www.shadypinesstorytown.com