A Photo Worth a Thousand Words

If you’re like me, you’re at least a little cynical (not trusting; believing people are acting for their own good, not yours) about politics and politicians. A few weeks ago, I saw this photo and it put a smile on my face. That’s hard to do when I’m reading about politicians.












Here’s the story behind the photo:  The little boy touching President Obama’s hair is named Jacob, and Jacob’s father worked at the White House, but was leaving his job. As is tradition (normally done), he asked for a photo of his family with the President. As the family was leaving the room, Jacob’s father told President Obama that each of his sons had a question for him. Neither of the boys’ parents knew what they would ask.

Jacob, the younger son and only 5-years-old at the time, asked his question first: “I want to know if my hair is just like yours.”

The President responded, “Why don’t you touch it and see for yourself?,” and proceeded to (continued to) bend down (lowered himself from the waist) so that his head was within Jacob’s reach (near Jacob’s hand). Jacob hesitated and the President said, “Touch it, dude!” Jacob touch the President’s hair and Obama asked, “So, what do you think?” And Jacob responded, “Yes, it does feel the same.”

Even for cynical people like me, this was a very poignant (strongly emotional or meaningful) moment. For the little boy to meet someone who looked like him in this position of authority was not only meaningful for him, but perhaps for a lot of children like him. This photo is displayed in the White House and it is a favorite among White House staffers (employees). I can see why.

~ Lucy

* “A picture is worth a thousand words” is an old saying meaning that a complex or complicated idea can be communicated in just one simple picture or image.

Photo Credit: White House Photo


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18 Responses to A Photo Worth a Thousand Words

  1. Rasoul says:

    Hello to all ESLPOD listeners,

    I admire the work of Mr. Obama for considering the request of children for nurturing their creativity.


  2. Bakhtiar says:

    I agree with you Lucy , everyone should be skeptical about politicians , they speak one language and act in different way and decide different things behind close doors . However Politicians like Obama or Tony Bliar are considered international citizens by some International Relations scholars they have great roles in promoting liberal internationalism approach in the world Politics which has led to enhancing democracy and human rights in ther Interntional System.

  3. Righteous says:

    How much does it cost for Obama to bend down in front of a child and how much does he earn from this action? think about that and you will find out how does a 2012-American-president do!

  4. Righteous says:

    There is a Facebook page on the internet titled: “Hey, Mr. politician, Give back the microphone”. I think the title of that page talks everything.

  5. Dan says:

    Hello everyone,

    I used to visit the White house’s website daily. I did that to read Mr. Obama’s speeches.
    As you maight know, Mr. Obama is a good orator, and at withehouse.org you can find the transcript of his speeches.

    Back then is when I got to know that Mr. Sousa was Mr. Obama’s official photographer.
    I remember thinking what must be like constanly having a photographer at your back.
    Is your behaviour influenced by that? I guess yes, it is.
    So, I wonder at what level these kind of pic are, say “natural/spontaneus”.

    I would say that the pic is nice, heart-warming, cute.
    At the same time, I can’t help but thinking what was going on under that desk when Mr. Clinton was in office…sorry Lucy.

    It is strange though, usually kids ask that kind of questions when they see someone different. He looks the same as Mr. President.
    I do not know, I getting doubious about this pic.

    Bye, can’t wait to read your thoughts guys.

  6. Peter says:

    Lucy , Lucy
    You and your ways
    U made my eyes all welled up.
    Quite Picture you got up there
    The message the pic gets across is very meaningful.
    I got the sentiment here and I bet , the pic tips the scale towards Obama , big Time , in his upcoming compaign.
    Smart move on his part. All in all, I like Obama
    He is my sening favorit U.S. president
    The first is : Bill Clington
    I found Obama a descent guy whose integrity paints him as a man of principal.
    I believe obama made history by this pic.
    I truly like him. I mean if I was a U.S. citizen I would vote for him again.


  7. Peter says:

    Dear Rasoul,
    I like your comment

    Quite interesting


  8. Peter says:

    Common guy give politicians some credits.
    Don’t come out and judge them based on a some groundless stereotypical assumptions.
    U know, they are in people eyes like always. They have media breathing down their necks for every move they make.
    They have huge responsibility for the commitment they undertake.
    I mean, it is no easy to be responsive to the endless demand of millions people and keep them all satisfied.
    Never judge them unless you walked one mile in their shoes.

    Cut them some slack, will you?


  9. Peter says:

    Dear Dan ,
    Thanks for the tip.
    A Very useful piece of info, Emglish wise.

    I’m on it


  10. GG says:

    Hi Lucy, its an inspirational article and pictur

  11. Betty says:

    Thank you very much indeed, Lucy, for this story about a brave little boy who was not afraid of asking questions.

    His parents are unique American who tried not to interfere with the children’s thinking.  I think if I were the little boy asking the same question, my father might thought that I was rude.

    There are many different interpretation of the picture.  It sends out a message that Obama was the same as anyone who is not a US president.  And, anyone can become the president of the US if they work for it.  Anything is possible in the US. 

    Although it is good to encourage children to be creative and courageous, I do not like the idea of letting children touch people’s hair due to hygienic reason.

    Obama liked children so much that he did not think about that.

    Thanks again for this good story plus some new words for me to learn.

    Betty 🙂

  12. Betty says:

    I think I might have used a wrong expression in my previous post.

    Instead of saying
    “His parents are unique American who tried not to interfere with the children’s thinking”.

    I probably should have said:
    “His parents were typical American who tried not to interfere with the children’s thinking”.

    What is your opinion?  “Unique” or “typical”?

    Much appreciated.

  13. Betty says:

    Sorry, when I read my first post above again, I think it needs some explanation.

    ” I do not like the idea of letting children touch people’s hair due to hygienic reason”.

    I mean people’s hair can be unhygienic?not the other way round.

  14. Dan says:

    Hi Betty,

    I guess tyical is correct, or better average.

    It’s strange, all the thinghs that come to my mind looking at that photo, never I would have thought that thing about the hair.
    Besides, I guess anything can be unhygenic. Why the hair? I did not know that.
    Where and when have you learned that? I am curious. Is that linked, maybe, to the fact that in the past Cinese people did not wash the hair? I am just guessing.

    The first thing that caught my eye was Mr. Obama at 90 degree like that.

    Thanks Betty, always a pleasure.

  15. Righteous says:

    You know, the politicians are the most skillful actors/actress of times. They are little ppl who show themselves GREAT. ( P.S. what’s the opposite of great in this case?)

  16. Peter says:

    Empowerment works when it comes to children.
    It makes them critical thinkers in the future.
    It boosts their confidence when the feel they are heated out!!

    All in All , it is a smart move.

  17. Ziba says:


    Thank you dear Dc. Lucy, the picture is really talking to us.

    Do u think that all the children can have a chance like him especially the muslim children in Minamar?

    Children are innocent.

    Ziba- Iran

  18. Betty says:

    Hi Dan

    Thank you very much for your advice of use of words.

    Yes, it makes more sense to use the word  ‘typical’.

    Thanks again.


    About hair as something not suitable for little children to touch, it is just my instinct that hair is not like a toy which children play with.

    Of course, in the case with the little boy who wanted to know whether Obama’s hair felt the same as his, there is no better way to get the answer than letting him touch the hair himself.

    Obama’s immediate response to the little child’s request was to let the little boy find out the answer directly.

    He had the best method.

    In fact, we don’t know whether he had ordered the little boy to clean his hands after feeling the hair.

    According to a publication by University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences entitled ‘Food, hands and bacteria’, hair has a lot of bacteria even if you have just washed it.

    It says: 

    “Well-kept hair is attractive, but let’s keep it out of our food. Nobody likes to see hair in what he or she is about to eat. It’s a good sign that someone didn’t follow sanitation rule when the food was processed or prepared. So always wear a hair net or a hat when you work with food.

    To demonstrate the importance of this, we placed some human hair on an agar plate and incubated it for 24 hours. Look at the number of bacteria that grew around the hair.

    Like hands, completely removing bacteria from your hair is impossible. Although you may have just washed it, it still contains many bacteria”.

    Thanks for a good question.

    Betty 🙂

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