Photograph by Sherry Main
Dear Mr. President:
Because “I believe the children are our future,” as Whitney Houston once said, I asked my 8 year old son what he would tell you if he could write you a letter.
“Mom, we already did that, in school,” he said.
“Oh. Well, what did you say?” I asked.
“I told him to shut up.”
Once I managed to regain my mom voice, I said, “Fair enough, Sam. But, that’s not super helpful. We want to be helpful to Donald Trump, not insulting. So, think about how you could help him. If you had any advice for him what could you give him? If you wanted to tell him anything about his job what would you want to tell him?”
And my Sam thought for a long minute.
Then he said, “I would say to Donald Trump that you wanted to be president. And then you won the election. So now you’re president, just like you wanted. But now that you got what you wanted you need to think about being president. You need to think about helping out the government, and not just helping out yourself.”
And that, sir, is a brilliant summation from a second grader. You see, you may not have realized that being President is not about being popular, and it’s not about winning. The election may have been a game to you, but the job is the most important job in the country. Being President is a service job. The entire purpose is to serve the country and her people. In order to be President, you must sacrifice your self and your pride and your time and your energy and many of the things you hold dear every damn day in order to meet the needs of all of the people you serve.
Frankly, I’m not sure how much service you have done in your life, sir. Have you served in the military? Have you served in the police force? Have you served in the firefighting industry? Have you served in our schools? Have you served in a soup kitchen? Sir, have you served? What volunteer work have you done to make the world a safer place for others? What have you given of yourself in order to give hope to others? What selfless things have you done so that others can maintain their own autonomy and integrity? And please don’t be confused, sir. I am not asking what charities you have donated to. I am not asking about money. Although giving to charity is noble work, it is not actually serving. Giving is still focused on the giver. Serving is focused on the ones being served.
Sir, you are in the unique position to be able to serve those in need. You can help them be less hungry, less afraid, less bullied, less distraught. You can help them be more successful, more aware of the needs of others, more giving, more hopeful. But the primary point here is that You must help Them. You —> Them. This is not about what they will do for you or even how they will feel about you. Those things are irrelevant. The point of serving is not to measure how it benefits you. The point of serving is to serve.
So, sir, I ask you to consider the words of an 8 year old boy, who is wiser than his years. Because he knows, in his heart, that JFK said it right, so many years ago.
You must “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
And that, sir, is our advice to you.
Letters2Trump (and an 8 year old boy)