On January 20th, 2017 my son was asked to write a letter to our new president, Donald Trump. It was inauguration day, President Trump’s first day in office, and to help the kids make connections from themselves to our new leader, she asked the class to pen a letter. Here is what he wrote:
Dear Mr. President
Congratulations. My name is Jack. I am twelve years old. I hope you will be an honest leader. Please build more schools and homes for the people who don’t have a home. I would like for you to make food for the hungry. Please be aware of the people you are leading. Think your decisions all the way through. Use expected behavior.
Thank you for listening.
My son attends a specialized program for children diagnosed with Asperger’s (ASD), ADHD and anxiety. His teacher emailed this to me, because she was proud to see him work through the assignment using the tools he has learned. At first he struggled to find the right words. He had heard a lot of conflicting information over the length of the campaign, all those months of sound bite that permeated everywhere, and it is easy see how a young man, with a concrete thinking, could become scared and confuse. After a short time, he was able to work with his teacher, and articulate his thoughts and hopes for our future.
Jack has learned many tools to help him navigate his academic programing as well as his social and emotional needs. He has a level of perseverance that can only been seen as inspirational to those who know him. I read this letter back to him and he again expressed it was hard to write. As part of Jack’s diagnosis, he tends to see things in black and white terms, and although he has improved in this area, it is still a part of him. I told him how proud he should be that he worked through this letter. Jack’s words, his beliefs, and his dreams for our future, presented an opportunity for a deeper lesson: a plan for action.
“We don’t need to wait for the President, or anyone else for that matter, to make a difference in our community or in our world,” I said to him as we snuggled on the sofa. My statement was made to help plant a seed of awareness. My son has fears and reservations about our new president. It is my job as his parent to alleviate his fears and help him make sense of things that are troubling. It is also my job to empower him. He has done an amazing job at home and school learning, growing and advocating for himself, now he wants to see positive changes for others. The act of taking action will help alleviate his concerns about other kids not having enough food or warm clothing to wear. He will be in control of creating the things he asked to see in our country.
Jack will be the change he wishes to see in the world…
I cannot wait to see where he takes us.