Remarks by the First Lady on Take Your Child To Work Day.
The White House Press Office released the remarks the First Lady gave during this morning's "Take Your Child To Work Day" meet-up in which children of Executive Office employees had an opportunity to ask her questions. Read on to see what the children queried and how Michelle Obama responded:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release
April 23, 2009
REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY ON TAKE YOUR CHILD TO WORK DAY
10:34 A.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: Well, hello. Wow, look at you, guys. What's going on? Did they tell you not to talk? (Laughter.) You can talk, you really can.
Welcome to the White House. Thank you, Katie, for that introduction. First let me just get off script for a second. What have you guys done so far?
Q We've met the people who give the letters --
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, yes, that's good, the correspondence people. What else?
Q We also have questions --
MRS. OBAMA: Ooh, questions for me. Good, good. (Laughter.) What else? What else?
Well, you're going to get to see this whole place. What -- what did you have to say, sweetie?
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, yes? Somebody who worked for the Vice President, great. Well, so far, so good. But most importantly, you don't have to go to school today, right? Yeah! (Applause.)
But hopefully you'll learn something today. So before we get into questions, I just wanted to say good morning and welcome to the White House. We're really pleased to have you guys here for this day, Take Your Child to Work Day. Has anybody participated in this before? Cool. This is a good day. Well, this year's theme is "Celebrating Service: Country, Community, and Family." And we invited you all here so you could learn more about what your moms and your dads do when they come to work every day.
And when someone works at the White House -- and I think somebody told you this earlier -- they're called a "public servant." And it's not just people who work at the -- in the White House, but it's people who work in government, in the non-profit sector, people who work in city governments. They're people who do a ton of things around this city. They are all public servants, and that means that you're working every day for the community that you live in. And they work on all sorts of projects that affects things like the food that you eat, the air that you breathe, the school that you go to. Their work touches so many parts of your lives.
And working at the White House is an honor and a privilege, and your parents take their jobs very seriously. We couldn't do what we do -- the President, me, none of us could do it -- without the support of people like your parents who work very hard. And I know that they take a lot of time away from home. Sometimes you might think they work a little too hard, they could come home a little earlier. But we appreciate what they do, and we appreciate your sacrifice, and just understanding that your parents are busy not just working to make your lives better but children across the nation and around the world.
And what's important to know is that your parents got here because they worked hard. They worked hard when they were your age. And I tell my kids this all the time: If you want to work in a place like the White House, no matter what you do, now is the time that you have to start thinking about working hard in school. And I'm assuming that everybody here works hard in school, right?
MRS. OBAMA: That you make sure you're there every day on time, that you do your homework, that you listen to the teachers, that you do your best. I tell my girls this every day: It doesn't matter what grade you get, but it matters how well you do. And my question is, for them, did you do your very best?
And that's what I know your parents want for you and what we all want for you, is that as you think about developing into young people, that you think about how well you're doing in school, that you're listening to your teachers and that you're paying attention -- because we're counting on you guys.
In a short period of time, you'll find that you'll be in high school, then maybe you'll go to college, then maybe you'll go on to get another degree. But pretty soon you'll be adults out here doing really fun stuff, maybe something like what you've seen people here doing at the White House. And we want you to be prepared and excited.
But most of all we want you to think about serving your communities, because you don't have to be a White House employee to do it. You can do it now. You can do it first of all by listening to your parents. That's a service in and of itself, just being a good kid. But you could volunteer at a homeless shelter, right? You could work for a soup kitchen. You could volunteer in a garden. You could help tutor another kid in your class who's having trouble. You could walk your neighbor's dog, mow the lawn. There's so much that you can do right now. And we want you all to start thinking now about what you can do to be good public servants, not when you grow up but right now.
So we hope you have a great day. I think you're going to get to walk around the White House and see the great rooms that we have here. You're going to get to go outside on the South Lawn, and it's a beautiful day. We planted this wonderful garden, and I haven't seen it since the rain, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it's going and what you think of the garden. I think there's some big chocolate Easter egg out there that they're going to show you. You'll get to see where Barney -- not Barney, but where Barney used to run and now Bo, our dog, plays.
So I hope you guys have fun and you really think about, you know, what you want to do when you grow up and what it takes to get there.
So now I'll stop talking, because we already have one question right now. Yes, young lady. Why don't you stand up and tell me your name and how old you are.
Q My name is Aylis Davenport (ph) --
MRS. OBAMA: There we go.
Q And how does it feel to be the First Lady?
MRS. OBAMA: You know, it feels just like probably being a mom, being a worker. I've worked all my life -- I've worked in corporateAmerica, I've worked for non-profits -- and I consider this a very important job, but I have to take it just as seriously as anyone who does their job. I wake up every morning, first of all, making sure that my kids get to school on time and they do their homework.
And then I get to have a lot of fun because I get to do things like come and talk to you guys and go out to schools and plant a garden and go visit military families. So I think it's a lot of fun, the job that I have. But it feels good, actually. Thank you.
All right, let's get another question. How about that young man right there in the nice striped tie? You in the white shirt, turn around. That's you.
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, okay, all right, we'll come back to you, we'll do you next. What did you say?
Q -- well, how did you -- if something bad happened --
MRS. OBAMA: Stand up for a second. Stand up, okay.
Q What will happen if something bad happened to a country?
MRS. OBAMA: If something bad happened to -- like what?
Q Like the earthquake that happened in China -- what would you do?
MRS. OBAMA: What would I do?
MRS. OBAMA: Well, first of all I'd wake my husband up if it were at night. (Laughter.) And I'd tell him, hey, buddy, you're the President, get down to the Oval Office and call some leaders. You know, that's the beauty of my job. I mean, I'm married to the President and he has to worry about all that. So I think he would probably call together his Cabinet members. He'd probably talk to the people who were in charge. He'd talk to the Secretary of State. He'd call the leaders of other countries, and they'd work to figure out what they could do to help another nation in trouble. And then I'd go back to sleep and ask him how it turned out when I woke up the next morning. (Laughter.)
All right, let's get that young man that was in the back that we missed.
Q Well, what does your dog like to do?
MRS. OBAMA: What does my daughter --
Q Your dog.
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, my dog. Oh, the dog. (Laughter.) Oh, he is a crazy dog. He -- you know, he loves to chew on people's feet. (Laughter.) I'll tell you a story about Bo last night. It was like 10:00 p.m. at night, everybody was asleep, and we hear all this barking and jumping around, and the President and I came out and we thought somebody was out there. And it was just Bo. (Laughter.) He was playing with his ball. And it was like there was another person in the house. He's kind of crazy. But he's still a puppy, so he likes to play a lot.
All right, in the pink. Oh, miss Finnigan (ph), how are you?
Q My name is Mazy (ph).
MRS. OBAMA: I meant Mazy (ph). What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in school. (Laughter.)