A Seattle mom has created a Facebook page called “Dear President Trump: Letters from Kids About Kindness.”
At 1 in the afternoon of Nov. 9, the day after the election, the Wallingford mom started a Facebook page with a special theme.
There was no publicity other than the link that Molly Spence Sahebjami forwarded to friends.
It is called, “Dear President Trump: Letters from Kids About Kindness.”
It features images of letters like this, sometimes written in that chicken-scratch lettering and only occasional use of correct grammar that young kids use: “kids in my class are very scared. PLEase don’t kick them out. In my school we get sent to the wall when we’re in trouble. My friends did not do anything wrong. Don’t send them to the wall. Love, Abby … ”
Sahebjami decided on the Facebook page after her son, Calvin, 5, told her about how the election turned out, “Oh, the mean man won.”
With her advertising and marketing background, Sahebjami thought the Facebook page could get social media traction.
But not quite like this.
“Hi, folks! Pretty cool that we broke the 1,000 member mark in less than 3 hours …,” Sahebjami posted later that day.
By Thursday, 5,000 people had joined up. As of Thursday night the group stood at more than 10,000 members. It’s a closed group but any member can approve you.
So the interviews are lining up and parents are sending in photos of letters their kids wrote, and sometimes videos of the kids reading the letters.
The site is bona fide viral.
Angela Hylland, a Seattle writer and editor, sent a video of her 6-year-old daughter with a letter the girl wrote, “Dear Mr. President, be nice to things. Don’t say mean things. This helps me calm down: Meditation, reading, and resting. Good luck with your new job! Let me know if I can help. Szaba.”
The letter included a drawing of the daughter fighting with her younger brother over a toy, and then hugging. If they can do it, why not politicians?
Hylland says the family has a lot of relatives in the Midwest who are Trump supporters. She hopes a posting such as the one from Szaba “creates something positive between us.”
So far, says Hylland, some of the relatives have clicked on the thumbs-up sign on the Facebook posting. That’s progress.
Sahebjami says she knows the page has been drawing a largely liberal audience.
It started in Seattle, after all.
She says she and her husband, Dara Sahebjami, an attorney for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “don’t shield our child from political conversation. He sits around with a lot of adults.”
Sahebjami told her son, “If you have a problem with somebody, talk to them.”
She asked what he’d write to Trump. A kindergartner, Calvin dictated this letter: “Dear President-elect Trump, please be a good president. Be kind to all people. Some people in my family are a special religion and they are not bad guys.”
Sahebjami grew up in Vancouver, Wash., the daughter of Republican parents. His family came to the U.S. from Iran in the 1960s. “We have people in our family who are Muslims,” she says.
On Facebook, Sahebjami asks those sending in kids’ letters to have the letters be “positive,” “kind” and “nonpartisan.”
Some are turning out that way, others not:
“Dear president-elect trump, please be kind and let the love shine through. Love Avery age 6.”
“How to be nice! From Kela age 7.
1. Say kind things like well done.
2. don’t blame other people when it is you doing the bad thing.
3. don’t lie.
4. Don’t scream at people.
The list went on to No. 12, the last one: “Being different is COOL!!!!”
“From Hadley, age 13.
“I hope, since many people dislike you, you can prove us wrong. I hope you can help everyone of every race, not just white men with the same beliefs … The country is counting on you, respectfully… ”
Among the videos posted on the site was one featuring Annie Rose, 9, a Chicago fourth-grader.
She says, “We have to stay strong. We have to control our anger … And remember not to speak with hate …”
Annie Rose’s mom, who preferred the family name not be used, says her daughter is an Abraham Lincoln fan. That happened when the family was on a vacation road trip and visited the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois.
The daughter now has the Gettysburg Address posted above her bed.
On the Facebook page, Sahebjami has listed the street address in Manhattan for the Trump Tower.
She hopes those posting on Facebook also send the letters by regular mail to Trump and his wife, Melania.
Sahebjami also suggests that the high-school kids she saw demonstrating on TV this week with their f-word Trump signs try writing him a more tempered letter. The signs’ wording is “not a very productive discourse,” she says.
So far, there has been no response from the president-elect, says Sahebjami.
But she says she also knows that Trump is a big social media user. “We’d like to catch his attention,” says Sahebjami.
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And, who knows, maybe some morning soon at 4 a.m., there will be that tweet from @realDonaldTrump.