Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday - here's some HOPE for you!

Today, I am thankful for this open letter that President-elect Barack Obama wrote to his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7. It's titled, "What I Want for You - and Every Child in America." A friend of mine forwarded this to me, from Parade magazine.

Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have. But I also know that it hasn't always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me—about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential—schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college—even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity.

I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other.

That was the lesson your grandmother tried to teach me when I was your age, reading me the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence and telling me about the men and women who marched for equality because they believed those words put to paper two centuries ago should mean something.

She helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better—and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It's a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be.

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.

These are the things I want for you—to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure.

I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace, and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House.

Love, Dad

I hope to share this with my kids now, and throughout their lives.

I hope to live these values in my own life, and keep them in the forefront of my mind in every action I take as a Mother.

I hope everyone who reads this, will be as inspired and filled with optimism for our future as I am.


Heather said...

Wow that is just so inspiring. I loved that, I am going to print this out and keep it for my kids. Thank you so much for sharing.

Anu said...

Thanks for that. I hadn't read that yet and it has given me some perspective and inspiration on this very crazy day i'm having.

Rachel said...

I really, REALLY love this. I can hear his voice as I read it, and it inspires me to know that he realizes he has just as much at stake as any of us: our children's futures. I am SO glad I voted in November. Thank you for posting this.

Issas Crazy World said...

I love this letter and I bawl every time I read it. I've sent it to just about everybody I know.

I can't wait to see what he does this year.

For Myself said...

Weeping like a baby over here...

solo nicole said...

he is amazing...4 more days!

PsychMamma said...

I read this too, after someone posted a link at Twitter. It's so touching, and I don't know why ("intuition" I guess), but I sense that it's truly genuine. That's what makes it even more amazing. I'm so proud that he will be our next leader, and yes - filled with hope!

You have an award waiting for you at:


bernthis said...

What an amazing dad and I agree, a truly genuine man. If turns out not to be so, then he is the best actor in the universe but I do think he is an amazing person.

Heather said...

Just want to let you know I just posted a link to this letter on my blog.


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