Today Barack Obama became our 44th president and, of course, this was an historic occasion because he is the first African-American to do so. Though I'm concerned that so many people seem to idolize Mr. Obama and though I disagree with him in some significant ways (see my earlier post, From the Mouth of a Babe), I wanted the girls to watch some of the day's events so they'd begin to understand something about our government and so they will remember this significant moment in our country's story.
Accordingly, we saw Mr. Obama leave the White House with President Bush in the morning (the girls thought it was funny that they took time to have coffee there after the church service) and then tuned into the ceremony itself while they colored pictures of the Capitol Rotunda. I pointed out the former presidents; the girls then honed in on Mahlia and Sasha, identifying with them by wondering, "What would it be like if our daddy was president?" They also paid close attention when both Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama "made their promises" (i.e., took their oaths of office); they scrutinized those moments and wanted to know what the words in the oaths meant.
Afterwards, I gave them an assignment to write about what they had seen as we watched. With their lists, each drew a picture. Rachel drew Mr. and Mrs. Obama with Mr. Bush driving to the Capitol before the ceremony; Abbie's drawing is of Sasha and Mahlia, perhaps previewing what she envisioned them wearing at one of this evening's balls. :^)
In addition to this, the girls earlier participated in a nationwide campaign called "Mail to the Chief," sponsored by Handwriting without Tears (HWT), the company that produces our handwriting curriculum. Along with over 34,000 other young people, they wrote letters of advice to Mr. Obama. All the letters will be delivered to The White House on Friday.
I was surprised to receive a phone call from HWT last week, seeking permission to post both my girls' letters on their website. Wow! If you click here, you can get a glimpse of the letters, which are the second and third ones down on the left side of the page. The text of each is rather difficult to read, but the drawings are clear - and are clearly theirs. :^)
The HWT representative told me that Abbie's letter had also been randomly chosen to appear in a feature slideshow on the ABC television network website. It is not there yet, but may be by the end of the week, perhaps as the network reports on delivery of all the letters.
Tomorrow I'll show the girls their letters on the website. I won't get their (or my own) hopes up, but I think it would be incredible if they would eventually receive letters of acknowledgment from The White House. Regardless of politics, what a memory-maker that would be for them.