Joe Biden becomes the 46th president

Road to success: Joe Biden has been a politician for more than 40 years and run for president twice. © Getty

Do we get wiser as we get older? Joe Biden is the oldest person ever to serve as president of the United States. At 78, he has a lot of experience – but does that necessarily mean wisdom?

What’s happening

The man stood in bright sunshine and placed his hand on a Bible. Then, he made the most important promise of his life,

“I solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States”, he began.

Finally, after 40 years as a politician, Joe Biden was the 46th president.

Find out more

Joe Biden was born in Pennsylvania in 1942. Growing up, he had a stutter and was bullied. Still, he worked hard and went to university to become a lawyer.

When he was 29, he had his first big break as a politician when he was elected as a US senator.

Tragedy struck when his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident. He started his new job from his sons’ hospital room.

In 1987, Joe tried to run for president but was unsuccessful. He became vice president in 2008 and worked with Obama. Then, in 2015, his plans to try again were cancelled when his son died.

Last week, in his first speech as president, he promised to unite America. Many hope his varied experiences make him the right person for the job.

Do we get wiser as we get older?

Some say…

Yes, of course! Being wise is about having lots of experience and learning from it. Joe Biden has had a long life and worked for many years. He has met thousands of people. He has lived through tragedy and failure. His experience helps him understand others far better than a younger person could. That is the key to wisdom.

Others think…

Nonsense! There are lots of young people who are wise. For example, Greta Thunberg has inspired millions of people to care for the planet. Likewise, there are plenty of old people who are not wise. Wisdom is about using your imagination and thinking about how what we do will affect the rest of the world. Anybody can do that!

You Decide

  1. Who is the wisest person you know?

Activities

  1. Peter Pan is a story about a boy who never wants to grow up. Write your own story about somebody who wants to grow up but cannot.

Some People Say...

“Here's the thing about life… Some days when you need a hand. There are other days when we are called to lend a hand. That's how it has to be. That’s what we do for one another.”

Joe Biden, 46th president of the United States

What do you think?

Word Watch

Solemnly
Very seriously. This kind of promise is known as an oath. Harry Potter has to make one to get into the Marauder’s’ Map: “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.”
Execute
To carry out or do a job.
Pennsylvania
A state in the US. The largest city is Philadelphia.
Stutter
A speech disorder that involves problems with the flow of speech. People who stutter know what they want to say, but sometimes have difficulty saying it.
Big break
A good new opportunity for success. It usually describes a chance somebody has to start out in a new job.
Unsuccessful
Not a success – a failure. Joe had to give up his campaign because he was found to have used the words of somebody else’s speech without asking.
Obama
The first Black president of the United States. Like Joe Biden, he was a lawyer before turning to politics.
Unite
To bring together. The US is still very divided after the election as many people wanted Donald Trump to remain president. Joe says he wants to be a “president for all Americans”.

Subjects

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