Lately Luke has been talking quite a bit about the president. He is fascinated by the idea of a leader who can make laws. I have tried to explain that creating our country’s laws is actually a very complicated process, but Luke is single-minded. If he notices any injustice in his little world, he is quick to say, “I’m going to tell the president to make a law about this!”
So, for New Experience #4, I gave my children the opportunity to write a letter to the president. First, we sat down and discussed the role of the president: to lead our country, to talk to other country’s leaders, and to make laws that will help the people who live in our country. Next, we thought of a few ideas we would like to see become laws.
I really tried to keep my opinions and ideas to myself. If I want to raise open-minded freethinkers, I need to give my children the time and space to formulate their own thoughts. They have certainly heard my opinions on current events, but this time I wanted the kids to lead the conversation.
One thing I learned about my children in this discussion is that they are harsh disciplinarians. They brought up the subject of littering and thought it should be against the law. When I told them that littering is already against the law, they wanted the president to enforce it with jail time. Life sentences. No chance of escape.
Once that was decided, they turned the discussion to guns. Leah said we should have no guns in the country. Luke told her the army needed guns. Bombs. Tanks. Grenades. Missiles. While he was listing the many weapons the army needed, Leah revised her thinking. She said the army could have guns, but no one else could. I was pleased that she thought carefully about her opinion. Luke didn’t notice. He was still listing all the items an army needs. Fighter jets. Drones. Aircraft carriers.
I somehow was able to switch the conversation back to the laws we thought the president should make. Luke told me he already knew exactly what he was going to write about. He wanted to keep it a secret until he was finished.
I modeled how to write a friendly letter. The White House website states that they prefer communication via email, but Luke needs to practice his handwriting so we stuck with old-fashioned pencil and paper.
“Dear Broccoli Obama…” she started. Leah can be very sensitive, so I hoped she wouldn’t get upset at my laughter. When I explained that the president’s name is actually Barack, she laughed, too. “Oh, I thought he was named after a vegetable!” she giggled.
The kids asked me not to take pictures of their letters. They want the president to be surprised when he gets them. I’m pretty sure Obama is not following 52 Brand New, but you never know….