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Producers’ Pick | Brad Meltzer: The Significance of Teaching Your Children the Right Values

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
June 12, 2022 5:00 am

Producers’ Pick | Brad Meltzer: The Significance of Teaching Your Children the Right Values

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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June 12, 2022 5:00 am

Bestselling author, host of Fox Nation’s “Greatest Conspiracies of All Time” on his latest books in the Ordinary People Change the World series.

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A radio show like no other. It's Brian Kilmeade. Hey, welcome back everybody. It's Brian Kilmeade Show. I hope you had a great weekend. With me right now is you're watching him on Fox Nation, if you choose.

I hope you are. Brad Meltzer, best-selling author, host of Fox Nation, Brad Meltzer's greatest conspiracies of all time. He's got two new books out. He's called I Am Dolly Pardon and I Am I Am Pie.

Both go on sale now. You almost had me on that one. I said I Am Pay is, we could have just done I Am Pay, but we did I Am I Am Pay, which is the, my kids have loved the title.

It's their favorite title of all time. So how many kids do you have? So I have three kids, which is, you know why I wrote these books, right? Is my, I was tired of my kids looking at all these people on Instagram who are famous.

No reason. The Kardashians. Right? And overpaid athletes and all the people you see, all the people that you see on Instagram as our kids swipe, our kids are being fed garbage today, every single day. And we as Americans have to fight back.

As parents, we have to fight back and give them better heroes to look up to. So we started the Ordinary People Change the World series. We started with I Am Amelia Earhart. I Am Abraham Lincoln. I Am Rosa Parks. I Am George Washington.

And gave them better heroes to look up to where now they told me the number one series teaching American history to this young age group. And I'm so proud to unveil now. And of course, you know, starting with I Am Dolly Parton is our newest book that comes out right now. Right, who's going to the, reluctantly going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I love that it's, the only she can be, say, I don't want to be, I don't need your nomination. And they still nominate her and still bring her in. And she's one over.

One over, of course. So why Dolly Parton? It's a country music store that's done so much charity work, also has Dollywood.

But what made you, what brought, put you into that? Yeah, and I think for me, you know, what I love in this book is you see Dolly Parton as a real person. And she's a real human being. We've kind of lifted her up on that pedestal.

But we do a disservice to our heroes when we do that. And you know, when Dolly Parton was born, she was so poor that her father paid the doctor for delivering her with a sack of cornmeal. And it was her mother who gave her her love of books. She says one of the first books Dolly Parton loved as a kid was The Little Engine That Could. And that's who Dolly Parton is.

She's the little engine that could. So they told her, you know, you're gonna have to wear just, you know, regular costumes. And she was like, no, I'm gonna wear amazing costumes. They said, you're just gonna have to sing country songs. And she said, I'm gonna sing songs for all audiences. They said, you know, you're gonna just be a musician.

She's like, no, no, I'm gonna be a movie star. I'm gonna open up Dollywood and my own amusement park. I'm gonna start this charity, the Imagination Library, and give books to millions of kids who can't afford them.

You know what the first book they gave away was, Brian? The Little Engine That Could. And I want my kids to have that lesson. You know, Dolly Parton, when she was a little girl, she was, her mom made her a coat out of a patchwork of scraps of fabric. And she thought it was so beautiful.

And she goes to school and all the kids say it's so ugly. And the secret of Dolly Parton that no one realizes is she was really felt alone and lonely. She felt different than everyone else. Where she was from, no one wanted to go across the world. But she always wanted to know what's on the other side of the mountain. And what I love about her is she had this dream that butterflies would actually fly her there. I want my kids to know that being a dreamer is a good thing.

I want them to know that your dreams can take you anywhere. And when you read these books and you read about Dolly Parton, you see again that you go to her concerts. She doesn't just, you know, it's, you have rich people there and poor people there. City folks and country folks. You have gay and straight. You have old and you have young. You have black and white and everyone in between. She judges nobody.

She accepts you for who you are, as long as you're being yourself. And in our culture right now, I want my kids to have a hero who says, you know what, we could use a little bit more sunshine in the world. How about I.M. Pei?

I.M. Pei is one of the great architects. Many people don't know him.

He's our first Asian American hero. He designed the Louvre in Paris. And what his whole book is about is about looking at life differently.

So he used to go through life. He saw skyscrapers being built. And he was like, that skyscraper is like a giant, beautiful plant that comes out from the ground. He said, I want to be an architect.

I want to build buildings. So he builds the Hancock Tower in Boston. Glass falls out of it and smashes everywhere. And it's not all perfect, right? Life is not all perfect. We have to remind our kids that you can fail sometimes. But he builds JFK's library in Boston.

Then he, of course, builds the Louvre. One of the things, this is obviously on radio, but I'll show you here. In the book, because as an architect, we wanted to teach kids you got to look at life differently.

So we are streaming on Fox Nation. You can see this. So I'm going to open it up. And so you can see when you open up the part of the Louvre, it's not just a regular book, but you can see now it pops up. So it's a pop-up book in I.M., I.M. Pei, because we said we want kids to see everything differently, have a new perspective on life.

And I'll leave you when we talk about him. This is my favorite. By the way, it looks a little like the Apple store on 63rd. It does. It does.

It does actually look like that. But he says like, I'm going to read this one part because it's so good. It says, your future is yours to construct, brick by brick. You can design it, shape it, and build something beautiful, build something meaningful, build something that expresses who you are. And he says, I am I.M.

Pei. I know you are the architect of your own life. And I need my kids to know they have that power. So we picked two kind of creative people. We have so many, you know today in the world, there's so many Hollywood people our kids look up to, and so many music stars our kids look up to who are doing nothing good.

Just giving our kids the wrong message every day. And I said, can I pick two creative people who will show our kids the beautiful things you can build with your creativity? And I thought Dolly Parton is, of course, the perfect choice. So I am Dolly Parton. For my kids, they were begging me for so long to do I am Dolly Parton. And Dolly Parton and her team were so nice to us when we were doing the book, were helpful in kind of giving us details that no one else had and sending us pictures so we can get all the details right. And our amazing artist, Chris Eliopoulos has this art style that's like, it's almost like Charlie Brown meets Calvin and Hobbes. And so kids love these books.

We have kids, you know, from birth, people buy them, but they're really for like four years old to 12 years old. And I love that people build libraries of our real heroes for their kids and their grandkids and nieces and nephews. And when people run away from history, a lot of people run away from public schools. That's exactly right. About a million people dropped out of public school during the pandemic and are going to private education, which is sad because you got to write a check.

You're paying your school taxes and then you got to write a check and those teachers don't get paid for the most part enough, but you're able to have a curriculum that you can rest assured if I go to work, my kids are not going to be learning to hate the country. Well, that, you know, one of the, listen, the first book we did was I Am Abraham Lincoln. Why? Because I wanted my kids to know, to see this story that Abraham Lincoln lost one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight elections and still said, I'm going to keep going forward.

Right. That he was this guy who, as a little boy, my favorite story and I Am Abraham Lincoln, I don't know if I ever told this one here, is when he's a little boy, he's 10 years old, he used to love animals. And I could tell my kids, oh, he was the 16th president.

I can tell him about the Emancipation Proclamation. They know all that stuff where he's on the $5 bill, but I tell my kids this story that when Abraham Lincoln was a little boy, he loved animals so much he saw a group of boys playing with turtles. And he says, I love turtles. So he races over to the boys and they're not playing with the turtles. They're putting hot coals on the backs of the turtles to make them run faster, torturing the turtles. And Abraham Lincoln sees that and he's just horrified.

And he doesn't know what to do. And I don't care if you're 10 years old or you're 50 years old, sometimes it's hard to do the right thing, but someone has to. And in that moment, Abraham Lincoln says to them, take the coal off the turtles, leave them alone. And my son to this day sleeps with an Abraham Lincoln doll that one of our readers made for us based on our book, because he realizes Abraham Lincoln is a great man. And our George Washington book is one of our top selling.

I Am George Washington is one of the best books we've done because we're like, here's what an American hero looks like. And if we don't take that, your kids are going to pick heroes, whether you like it or not, you got to do it. If you have values and ethics since burned into your young, the issues fall into a category right and wrong.

There's a gray area there. But if you have values and ethics in that foundation, that's the man or woman you elect. That's the person who should represent you. That's the person who should teach your kids. You don't need to know the daily planner.

I need to know the quality of the person and the product. You're absolutely right. My favorite line in I Am George Washington says, leadership is not about being in charge. It's about taking care of those in your charge. And I Need My Kids, what these books, everyone thinks, oh, they're history books.

The Ordinary People Change World Series has never been about history. It's about values. It's about teaching my kids the right values. On the back of every book, it says that value. It says on the back of I Am Amelia Earhart, it says I know no bounds. On the back of I Am Abraham Lincoln, it says I will speak my mind and speak for others. On the back of I Am Pay, it says I will always be the architect of my own life.

And on the back of I Am Dolly Parton, it says, I will see the light that shines within you. Reminding kids you need to put that sunshine in your heart and have that love for other people as opposed to that cynicism that's being fed to our kids every day. And if you can give your kids the values in the I Am book series, to me, that's what I'm trying to do as a parent is give my kids those values so they know the right person to look up to as opposed to the wrong person. And when they're on the playground or when they're out of college, you don't have to worry about the day-to-day because you know they have the framework and foundation to make the right decision. Doesn't mean you always will, but I gave them the framework, but I can't be calling them walking through everything.

I always say too much hands on. I always say you're building the pillars of the foundation of their emotional kind of support system. And if you teach them what, you know, it shouldn't be so hard to know what is good and what is bad.

And what we do in these books is we always show you the hero when they're little. We show Dolly Parton when she's a little girl and she feels different than everyone else and kids are laughing at her because of the clothes she's wearing. We have a story in I Am Dolly Parton that it was Christmas and her dad wants to buy her mom, wants to buy his wife, Dolly Parton's mother, a new wedding ring, a proper wedding ring.

And he says to the family, you know, we can't afford presents for everyone this year. I can't buy individual presents because I got to buy mom a wedding ring. And Dolly Parton says it wasn't bad for us. It was beautiful because we saw the sacrifice my dad was making for my mom. He gave all of us one group gift.

It was chocolate covered cherries. But I want people to hear that Christmas story in I Am Dolly Parton and teach their kids, you know what, it's not about buying a million presents. It's about doing good for those who we love.

That's a lesson our kids need. Here's another lesson, doesn't go as deep as those individuals, but I think watching Ukrainians, as imperfect as the democracy is, fight for something that we take for granted. Freedom.

Made America recalibrate and said stop thinking about us and the verbal civil war we're going through right now. Wait, what do they want? There's clear bad guy and good guy. And those other people just want to have the right to have a imperfect democracy. And they're being invaded by an evil person who wants the exact opposite. And all they're asking for is the weapons to let them fight and do what the Afghans were unwilling to do. And that is stand up for themselves.

And Zominsky might be your next book, I think. I would write it. I would write it, you know, and you and I were talking off the air and we were saying that, you know, you look at this and you and we were saying that, you know, right now we are in this verbal civil war. But in that moment, when Ukraine happened, it was one of the few times where Democrats and Republicans, to my surprise, said, no, that's something bad happening to people that are good and we got to step up. And the reason why I think Americans reacted that way is because we as kids and those generations above us, of course, as kids were taught the right values. We were taught you stand up when you see someone being picked on, that when you see someone being a bully, you got to stand up there. Like Abraham Lincoln does in that story I told you, stands up to those bullies and says, no, you can't do that. Someone has to step up.

And again, for me, if we put those values in place, when your kid, you can't anticipate every thing that your kid's going to walk into. But when they watch that Ukraine story, I tell my kids, I want you to look at this. I want you to see the bully. I want you to see who's being picked on. That's your opportunity. It's exactly what we try to do in the books.

And I'm going to drill down even further. You know, you learn in different religions, turn the other cheek. But if the Ukrainians turn the other cheek and the West turns the other cheek, they lose their head.

At certain times you can't. And that's the way it is. I wish people were rational human beings and you can debate them. But there's irrational actors through history, from Stalin killing millions of his own people, to Hitler, that we've seen this before. If you don't stop them early, if you pretend as if they could be rational, you have no excuse. You should expect millions more to die because of your actions.

And listen, the Bible says, yes, turn the other cheek. But it also says you have to take care of the poor. You have to take care of those who need it. You have to take care of those who need your help. And it means stepping up.

It means that you have to step up. If you don't step up and help those who need help, we have huge problems. And we all know that.

The other thing that I think heartening is that you do have a subject in today's complex world of an example of a hero, right? We don't know where he stands on Roe v. Wade. We don't know where he stands on America's Second Amendment. But we know right and wrong and what a great leader is.

And we also know that not many people anticipate he had this in him, maybe his parents. That this former actor, this new to the political game and certainly new to the military, knows Russia well enough to know what he's up against, tried originally to reach out and say, listen, I could probably breach this breach between you and Perchenko, the former leader. But I won about 30 points. Let me go.

I used to perform in Moscow. When he realized he couldn't do that, they perceived that as weakness. So Putin's like, yeah, this little guy, he came up, put his hands out to me. So that is what we're taught. But then when we've said, okay, now the law of the jungle, I have to survive this jungle.

And all they're asking for is armaments. That's it. Well, and I also think what's really interesting is that when you look at some, you know, I believe this about US presidents. I believe that this about him is what makes a great leader is not your stance on a particular political issue. What makes a great leader for every president in history, when we judge who our great presidents are, it's when there is a crisis, how did you react?

Yep. That is, Abraham Lincoln has, you know, he has no idea what the Civil War is going to become or what slavery is. He thinks that there is obviously these issues. We know that they hate him so much when he's elected, but he has no idea what he's really getting into. But the Civil War comes and he has to deal with it. George Washington at the beginning of the founding of a country has no idea what the country is going to be or what the crisis is going to be, or even, of course, in the Revolutionary War, what he's walking into. He doesn't have the training that the British military has, but he is up for the challenge when it presents itself.

And that is exactly what's happening in Ukraine. He stepped up in this moment. I know in your books, it does get into this, but people at home should realize as much as we laud George Washington, as much as internet and other nations study George Washington, they wanted him out. This guy won't fight. This guy keeps losing battles.

This guy's overspending. The first battle, we did this in one of our nonfiction books, the first battle that George Washington fights in the United States, he gets pinned down to the East River by the British. We all tell the story that he's going to win, he's the best, he's the strongest. He gets pinned down.

Don't finish it yet. When we come back, Brad Meltzer finishes that story, but most importantly, pick up his two books, I Am Pei and I Am Dolly Parton. And Brad, the best place to get him? You can get him on Amazon, your local bookstore, anywhere you want.

They're for sale everywhere. Back in a moment. Hey, I got a few more minutes with Brad Meltzer. So Brad, set the scene. The president's backed up in Brooklyn and he's about to be challenged by a very slow moving British army who want to destroy him. And this is one of the first great battles George Washington fights in the Revolutionary War. He's pinned back against, he has the East River behind him. He's got the British in front of him. This is the moment that George Washington should die.

It should be over. We all think George Washington's the greatest hero who ever lived, but in the beginning, he didn't have the experience that the British military had. So he's pinned down and it should be done.

And to our point before, we were talking that great leaders react to moments, right? And in that moment, George Washington does the best thing he always does, is he improvises. And in that moment, we were talking off the air, fog rolls in in the middle of the night and he plans a daring escape. And they start commandeering all the boats they can find along the East River. Civilian boats, barges, whatever they had.

Anything, if it floats, they grab it. And one by one, he starts putting his men on these boats and sailing them to safety. But the thing, and the great part of the story is, is George Washington won't get on any of the boats until everyone is safely across. And not just as high level military people, but even the lower ranking men. And that's where it says, as it said, I wrote this in my adult book, the first conspiracy, but I also wrote it in I Am George Washington. Saline, I told you before, leadership is not about being in charge. It's about taking care of those in your charge. I want my kids to learn that lesson in the I Am George Washington book, but we all need to learn that lesson. And I love the fact that George Washington stands for that. And when the sun came up, the fog was still there, allowing them all to get out because the water initially was too rough for those barges to come through. Sometimes in life, you have to retreat to fight another day. His heroic move was to retreat, and he got a lot of criticism. Sam Houston too, until he finally had his confrontation in the runaway scrape. It's unbelievable. Pick up Brad Meltzer's book, I Am Dolly Parton, I Am Pei.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-15 04:00:52 / 2023-02-15 04:09:59 / 9

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