Michelle Obama Says It's Important to Show Kids "Gladness"

"They don't need us to point out the thing that's wrong first."

Michelle Obama Book Tour

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Michelle Obama is offering a nugget of advice to parents everywhere with the debut of her new podcast on Audible, Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast. The former first lady's new podcast, which is a partnership between Audible and Higher Ground, the production company President Barack Obama and Michelle established back in 2018, starts with an episode that encourages parents to take a beat and offer up "gladness" to their children instead of focusing on discipline or "pointing out the thing that's wrong."

The new series pulls from Michelle's book tour last year, bringing audiences to listen in on the chats she had with her friends across the country. The debut episode highlights Obama's engagement in Philadelphia, where she sat with her friend Hoda Kotb, the co-host of the Today show. Together, they talked about "gladness" and Obama said that she was first introduced to the concept by author Toni Morrison.

"What Toni Morrison says is that our kids just want our gladness. They don't need us to fix them," Obama said. "They don't need us to point out the thing that's wrong first and I write about that because that is a practice. I know that I try to practice that with kids in the world."

"There are a lot of kids who can live their whole life and not be received with gladness and I just think, man, if this interaction is their chance to be seen by somebody and somebody that they think is important, I'm not gonna squander it," Obama continued. She went on to say that for the majority of their lives, children see adults as role models — and that's something a lot of parents can forget.

"Sometimes you will attack them like they're grown up — you shoo them out of your store, you treat them like they don't belong in a museum, they are nuisances. And as adults, showing them that leaves a mark on them," she said.

Michelle Obama Book Tour

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Obama continued, saying that first and foremost, adults should also approach the world with gladness, something she realized during the COVID-19 lockdowns that the world endured together. When she was working on her book, she said that she realized that everyone could take a bit of time for reflection before they react to things. 

“Like so many people around the world, I felt isolated, disconnected, and discouraged during the pandemic," she said via a press release announcing her new podcast. "Writing The Light We Carry was a way for me to make sense of it and reflect on some of the biggest challenges we all face in life — and the tour was an incredible way to share those stories with my readers and connect with real people once again ... That’s what Michelle Obama: The Light Podcast is all about — it’s a deeper examination of those fun and meaningful moments."

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