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Viewpoint from Victor Hulbert 28/11/08




Victor Hulbert

Communication Director

British Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Strange the things that stay in your mind. Of all the 4,647 words in the US President Elect's acceptance speech the only ones that really stuck out for me are not even recorded in the official transcript "I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House"  Words Barack Obama told his daughters Malia and Sasha before an adoring throng of 100,000 supporters in Chicago's Grant Park
What kind of puppy that will be is still open to speculation, but as a father of three children and master of two dogs I do feel qualified to comment on this area of family life. My experience of puppy presents is that they are entertaining for the children but hard work for the parents. Despite promises made at the dog rescue centre it is the parents that do the dog walking and ensure the house training progresses apace. Children may luxuriate in their holiday lie-in, but parents still have to get up and let the dogs out. Naturally there are different levels at which this parental service is run – and I doubt that the White House staff will be seeing a bleary eyed President Obama taking puppy for his late night run or clearing up the grass on the front lawn!
 Victor Portrait
However, I guess Malia and Sasha probably do deserve a reward for their patience during the presidential elections – and for the fact that their family will now be in the public eye for years to come. There is also another advantage in adding a pet to the family circle. Dogs are very forgiving, very loving, and will still affectionately snuggle up to you even if world-war three is about to break out. Quite an asset in the White House
For a dog, the family is their hero.  For children, according to a joint Church of England and Children's Society Poll, that role falls to parents. Out of 25 jobs nominated by school children parents got 25 percent of the vote, almost double that of firefighters or soldiers.  What a great thought! "My dad! My mum! My hero"  I guess that makes it easy for the two girls. Not so hard for them to choose Barack Obama as a hero when he is both dad and president
Dove right 
Both the roles he is taking on are demanding and take character, sacrifice, endurance and determination. Neither is easy but what a joy that, more generally, today's children recognise hero parents who give lots of love and care, and often sacrifice, so that they can have greater opportunities. Walking my dogs in the park this weekend it was a joy to see parents and children, walking, playing and laughing together. I want to commend the tens of thousands of parents in this country that make such unsung heroes, following the wisdom of Solomon, "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6)