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Writing letters to your children

Writing letters to your childrenOn Wednesday, Barack Obama told his young daughters (Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7) that he wanted to be president so they could “grow up in a world with no limits on [their] dreams and no achievements beyond [their] reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world.” He wrote them an “open letter” to express his desires for the next four years and beyond.

As many parents have discovered, kids change everything in life. Obama said that his goals used to be all about how he could succeed. But once the girls entered the picture, his goals changed. “I realized that my own life wouldn’t count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours.”

The president-elect published this letter in Parade Magazine so that not only his girls would read it, but the whole world could see his intentions for his term as president. He addressed the letter to them, but also acknowledges that running for president was for ALL American kids.

Topping the political/personal wish list for every child are educational aspirations and job opportunities, as well as developments in science and technology, and an end to prejudice. He also expressed gratitude towards his grandmother for showing him that our country’s greatest strength may be that despite its imperfections, it can always be made better.

I have never written so eloquently to my children, and I would never let anyone outside my family see the letters, but I do write to them. One letter that stands out as particularly memorable was the one I wrote to my son the day before he entered Kindergarten. I was sobbing as a I wrote, noting that it was the last day when his father and I had sole influence over his life, and praying the best for his first step into the world on his own. Of course, I have written far less dramatic things, as well, to both of them. I tell my daughter what she is able to do, and how I am feeling, and if we’ve had a bad day. I suppose it’s like a journal. But even now, when I read what I wrote just a few months ago, I realize I’ve already forgotten things. So it’s for me and for them.

My son has never read any of these letters, and my daughter is only 9 months old. But someday they will both be able to read my thoughts and know my heart. They’ll know how old they were when they rolled over, and they’ll know I cried the first time they smiled at me. I have recently felt “too busy” to write to them, but the president-elect has re-motivated me. I am going to write to them both this week. And I encourage you to do the same thing.


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