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Education

A lesson in kindness: Kids write to President-Elect Donald Trump




A lot of kids are worried about the future, and parents are finding innovative ways to put a positive spin on a bitterly fought presidential race.
A lot of kids are worried about the future, and parents are finding innovative ways to put a positive spin on a bitterly fought presidential race.
USC Photo/Gus Ruelas

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Tensions have been high since November 8th, and not just for adults.

A lot of kids are worried about the future, and parents are finding innovative ways to put a positive spin on a bitterly fought presidential race.

The day after the election, one Seattle mom used social media to create a teaching moment for her 5-year-old son. She started a Facebook group where parents can post their children’s letters to the President-Elect.

It’s called “Dear President Trump: Letters from Kids About Kindness.”

The group began with an invitation to 200 Facebook friends. Now, there are 10,000 members and counting. In addition to posting, she also encourages people to mail the letters to Trump Tower, so he has a better chance of seeing them.

Here’s one from 6th grader Jason Bernstein:

 

Very proud parent. #kidsletterstotrump #nohate

A photo posted by Beth Bernstein (@sqnevents) on

And another from a boy named Tommy:

Alex Cohen spoke to the mom who started the project, Molly Spence Sahebjami, to find out what the social media group plans to accomplish, both for its participants and the president-elect.

Here are some interview highlights:

How did you come up with this idea? 

Sahebjami: On Wednesday morning, when I told my son that Trump had won the election, it was a surprise to a lot of people, including him. And he furrowed his brow and said, 'You mean the mean man won?' And he didn't know about manufacturing jobs and NAFTA . . .but he was aware that this was the man who had said mean things about certain groups including Muslims and we had talked about that. . .Often when somebody's mean to him I say, 'Just talk to them. You're kind, maybe you can help him be kind.' . . .and as I started talking to more moms and more friends from both parties, we found that this was one thing we can agree on about our president-elect Trump and that we just need a higher level of civil discourse in our country and he can help us set the tone for that if he's up for it.

What is this group all about?

Sahebjami: I had heard from a lot of moms whose kids that were older than my [five-year-old] son. . . who were really distressed about [Donald Trump's presidency] and worried about the certain groups of people that were in their family or their friends or even themselves, kids in wheelchairs and things like that. And that was the nugget of the idea here. To start this group so that these kids could have a positive outlet to express their feelings, and a civics lesson. When I was a kid, my teacher had us write to President Reagan. So this is a great American thing, to have children write letters to their president.

What effect do you think this has on the kids?

Sahebjami: I'm a big fan of teaching our kids how to speak articulately. I actually want older kids to participate too. Because where I live, in Seattle, and in a lot of cities, I see a lot of high school kids who are really excited to make signs, but say "F-Trump." And I don't think that's productive discourse. And I don't think that a lot of the language that I hear certain Trump supporters use is productive either. So I think this helps parents teach kids that when you feel a certain way, they can attempt to build bridges and connect and persuade people because that's really powerful.