Michelle Obama QuotesRating Mail
Although the circumstances of our lives may seem very disengaged, with me standing here as the First Lady of the United States of America and you just getting through school, I want you to know we have very much in common. For nothing in my life ever would have predicted that I would standing here as the first African-American First Lady.
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America is just downright mean.
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And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values, like you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond; that you do what you say you're going to do. That you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them.
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And I come here as a daughter, raised on the South Side of Chicago - by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me.
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And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us - no matter what our age or background or walk of life - each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.
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And let's be clear: It's not enough just to limit ads for foods that aren't healthy. It's also going to be critical to increase marketing for foods that are healthy.
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As a mom, I know it is my responsibility, and no one else's, to raise my kids. But we have to ask ourselves, what does it mean when so many parents are finding their best efforts undermined by an avalanche of advertisements aimed at our kids.
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Even if we give parents all the information they need and we improve school meals and build brand new supermarkets on every corner, none of that matters if when families step into a restaurant, they can't make a healthy choice.
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Exercise is really important to me - it's therapeutic. So if I'm ever feeling tense or stressed or like I'm about to have a meltdown, I'll put on my iPod and head to the gym or out on a bike ride along Lake Michigan with the girls.
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For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction.
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Fortunately, we have help from the media. I have to say this: I'm very grateful for the support and kindness that we've gotten. People have respected their privacy and in that way, I think, you know, no matter what people may feel about my husband's policies or what have you, they care about children and that's been good to see.
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I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.
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I come here tonight as a sister, blessed with a brother who is my mentor, my protector and my lifelong friend. And I come here as a wife who loves my husband and believes he will be an extraordinary president.
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I like to talk about my obsession with french fries because I don't want people to think that 'Let's Move' is about complete, utter deprivation. It's about moderation and real-life changes and ideas that really work for families.
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I never cut class. I loved getting As, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world.
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I was not raised with wealth or resources or any social standing to speak of.
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I'm a fry lover.
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I'm not asking any of you to make drastic changes to every single one of your recipes or to totally change the way you do business. But what I am asking is that you consider reformulating your menu in pragmatic and incremental ways to create healthier versions of the foods that we all love.
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My first job in all honesty is going to continue to be mom-in-chief. Making sure that in this transition, which will be even more of a transition for the girls... that they are settled and that they know they will continue to be the center of our universe.
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My mother's love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion, her intelligence reflected in my daughters.
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One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don't invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.
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See, that's why Barack's running: to end the war in Iraq responsibly - to build an economy that lifts every family, to make sure health care is available for every American - and to make sure that every child in this nation has a world-class education all the way from preschool to college.
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So we know that it's not enough for us to simply encourage more people to study abroad. We also need to make sure that they can actually afford it.
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The fact is, with every friendship you make, and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world. That is so important. So when you study abroad, you're actually helping to make America stronger.
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The problem is when that fun stuff becomes the habit. And I think that's what's happened in our culture. Fast food has become the everyday meal.
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The realities are that, you know, as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station, you know.
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The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more.
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There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.
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Together, we can help make sure that every family that walks into a restaurant can make an easy, healthy choice.
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Ultimately this issue is on us. We're the ones who make the decisions about what our kids eat.
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We all need to start making some changes to how our families eat. Now, everyone loves a good Sunday dinner. Me included. And there's nothing wrong with that. The problem is when we eat Sunday dinner Monday through Saturday.
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We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture - imagine this - where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them.
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We're all bombarded with so many dietary messages that it's hard to find time to sort through all this information, but we do have time to take a look at our kids' plates.
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Whether you come from a council estate or a country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.
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Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we're scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don't have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list.
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You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.
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