Let’s chat for a minute about what happens while the State of the Union (SOTU) airs on television. Do you watch it? Do your kids watch it? Or are you just annoyed your favorite TV shows are being delayed?
If we’re being completely honest here, the SOTU can get quite lengthy and snooze-worthy–even if you’re a political or news junkie. So trying to make your kids (and even yourself) watch it and actually pay attention is a tall order. Never fear. It’s time for some fun!
State of the Union Bingo!
This little gem pictured above is a Bingo card. Ever heard of State of the Union Bingo? No? Well, we hadn’t either but it sounded like a good idea, so we decided it was time to make it happen. Click here to get started.
It’s just like normal Bingo, so you should already know all the rules. To liven things up, we’ve thrown in some key words we think President Trump might use during his address. Words like “economy” and “budget” and “North Korea.” But we’ve also added some words or phrases that President Trump is known to use, like “believe me,” just for fun.
If you haven’t already, click here to get your Bingo cards. Print them off for your family and turn the SOTU into a little game night. Maybe this will make watching the SOTU fun again. . . or maybe it’ll at least get you and your kids to pay attention. If you want to be really patriotic, you can use red, white, and blue candies as your Bingo chips. Perhaps the night’s winner can win a night out with mom or dad to one of President Trump’s favorite restaurants (the man likes his fast food)?
Of course, everyone knows the best game nights also include good eats. So check out our presidential recipes to whip up some festive appetizers while you are enjoying your new favorite way to watch the SOTU!
Why It Matters
As the president addresses Congress and lays out his agenda for the year, sure the Bingo game is a fun way to keep things interesting. But, it’s also meant to keep you listening. Perhaps the president’s agenda for the coming year doesn’t really matter to you. But for many people, his agenda will affect them significantly.
Knowing that although a certain issue may not affect you but it will affect someone else is something our children need to know. Plus, what goes across the president’s desk will most likely affect every American at some time or another. Our nation is made up of people from all walks of life. Our children need to know that they matter as an individual but that they’re also part of something bigger. They are one piece of a big wide world and those various issues discussed in the SOTU can connect all of us.
The last point I want to make is a big one. In an era where our leaders aren’t as respected as they used to be (thanks to social media and biased journalism), it would sure be nice to have an event or two that still demands our attention and respect. So, let’s teach our kids that sometimes paying attention to our nation’s leaders is important, even if we do it in a fun way.
Maybe you don’t think it’s a big deal to watch the SOTU and maybe you weren’t planning on watching at all. But the SOTU address exists for a reason. It is actually a constitutional mandate (Article II, Section 3, Clause I) that the president addresses Congress from “time to time” (annually, in this case) on the current condition of our country. The Speaker of the House sends a formal invitation to the president every year to speak to Congress. When the president shows up, the Sergeants at Arms will announce him and thus will begin an evening you’ll need to settle in for. This little video is quite entertaining and gives more details about the particulars.
Here’s a mini history lesson for you: George Washington gave the first State of the Union Address to Congress. In person. Then Thomas Jefferson came along and changed that for awhile. Old TJ decided that a written state of our union was good enough. That tradition stuck all the way until Woodrow Wilson in 1913. And now not giving a live televised address is unthinkable.
How is the SOTU written? My former boss at the White House wrote a good “behind the scenes” look here.
Here’s a fun article about 10 Memorable Moments from past SOTU addresses. President Reagan’s “moment” is my favorite. I think presidents should use props more often.