In the January 18, 2009 issue of Parade Magazine, Barack Obama shares with the world (or at least Parade Magazine's readership and those who find the article reprinted on the web) a letter to his children, Malia and Sasha.
I think an article in the Columbia Journalism Review really hit the nail on the head. The article point specifically to the third from last paragraph of the letter. It is quoted below for the convenience of the one person who might accidently read this.
"I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you’ve had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much—although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential."
While you're at it girls, could you possibly invent faster than light travel and overcome Newton's first law?
While suggesting a parent has made an error in the way they deal with their children is treacherous ground at best, when one purposefully makes their parenting a matter of public record, it invites comment and criticism. This is a lot to place on the shoulders of two girls who aren't even in high school yet. However bright, energetic, and intelligent they may be (I'm assuming very to all three since I don't know), let them be children before they are expected to tackle the problems of the world.
So, Malia and Sasha, my unsolicited advice is this... Before you hitch yourself to the great train America, please take the time to do the following...
Read some books that interest you.
Learn long division if you haven't already.
Have a crush.
Frantically collect something that you will lose interest in next month.
You get the idea. I'm sure you'll be better than I at coming up with a few more to enjoy. And please enjoy them. Childhood, for all its heartaches and pitfalls, is precious and short.
Photo by Callie Shell