Our fifth and sixth-grade school students have been very interested and invested in the political scene this past year. Despite a lot of different personalities and views, they have been learning to think critically about politicians’ claims and respectfully disagree when they have conflicting opinions.
The morning after the election results were in, we had a rather emotional meeting with our older students. There was some anger, some disbelief, and quite a few tears of worry. We tried to help them understand and respect that this change in leadership is what many of our fellow citizens want at this time. We tried to convey hope for our future that is inspired by the compassion, inclusiveness, and respect for others that our students believe in and demonstrate every day. We finished our meeting by writing letters to our future president about what each of us believes can make America great.
We have included a few excerpts from their letters below.
Dear Mr. Trump,
You may or may not be reading this but… I think that your first move as president should be to make it clear that people are created equal- doesn’t matter what race, sex, if they’re wealthy or not. A few other things are… Please choose carefully on the next Supreme Court Justice… Please don’t build a wall… Give the children an education on our political system… Make it a law that requires background checks before you can own a gun… Raise taxes for the richer. (Sofia, age 12)
[You] should not make wars… Be nice to girls and don’t curse at them. (Nicholas, age 12)
Here are some things that will help make America great again: Treat women equally… Treat Blacks and Whites the same… No walls. (Kali, age 11)
Please be nice to girls… Don’t bomb any places… Don’t build a wall between Mexico and the United States. (Oney, age 11)
Things that will make America great: If there is no racism or sexism… If there is no animal testing with cosmetics… If people don’t litter… If poor people could be helped more… If people don’t get kicked out of their homes. (Mickie, age 11)
I think that America is great. But it could be better… I think we should never kill, not by anyone, not even by the government… We should not litter because it causes pollution… We should advance our security… We should advance all public schools… last, but not least, we should take care of all our people. (Ruby, age 11)
People voted for you because they care. You should too… We are happy for you but we are worried about the future. Please make it good… You’re pretty mean sometimes. [When] you’re mean to people it’s like you’re mean to yourself…treat others how you want to be treated… If you say bad things, kids will see it and do the same thing. Just be careful… You are a great man and you get to show us that. (Acacia, age 10)
How did you discuss the election with your children?