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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Parent Tips: Letters to Politicians

This week when your children say those familiar two words.... "I'm bored" allow me to suggest an option and a story for them. On Tuesday all kinds of new people were voted into office.  Some of them may be your first choice, some may be your last.  But they are now elected and will have control over parts of your lives and your children's.

In 1982 a ten-year-old girl from Manchester, Maine asked her mother if she could write to Yuri Andropov who had recently become the head of the former Soviet Union. This was a time when nuclear war seemed almost an inevitable part of our future and likely between the Soviets and the Americans.  This is the text of the letter she sent:

Dear Mr. Andropov,
My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren't please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.
Samantha Smith
To everyone's surprise, he answered in detail.  Her letter became one small chink in the wall between our countries.

Challenge your children to write a letter to one of their newly elected officials and say what is their biggest concern.  They may get an answer.  They may not. But either way, we can help them learn that it is up to us to tell elected officials how we feel. The sooner they write after elections the more likely they are to get an answer I have found. Good luck!

To learn more about Samantha check out Samantha Smith site or the Wikipedia article or this website about how she is remembered.

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