Thursday, August 27, 2009

Parenting and the President - Part 3 - Involving the Obama White House

After developing a National Effective Parenting Plan that pivots around the involvement and support of the President of the United States (see Part 1 in this series), the next step was to figure out how to contact President Obama. Such contacts or access are not easy to come by, and lobbyists and well-heeled special interest groups spend millions of dollars seeking access.

I, CICC and NEPI had previously gained access to the presidents of the last two administrations through finding and following personal contacts and through taking advantage of invitations to the White House for special events. These will be mentioned and described in subsequent articles in this series. Suffice to say that in trying to reach President Obama we are trying similar routes.

As was described in some detail in Part 2 of this series, an aspect of the Plan is to encourage the president to include honoring parents who enroll in and complete parenting programs in the annual Parents Day Proclamation. Parents Day fell this year on July 26th. We began in May of this year to find out who in the Obama White House had some responsibility for proclamations.

We enlisted the offices of our congressional representatives to get us the appropriate contact, as a cold contact to the newly forming White House was likely to result in transfer after transfer. Our idea was to use the contact person that was given to our congressional representative’s office as someone who could subsequently put us in touch with the appropriate policy people who relate directly to the president, such as persons who work on the Domestic Policy Council.

The preferred mode of relating to the contact person who handled proclamations was via email. That person not only brought our ideas about the proclamation to the attention of the group who decides about such public communications, but also indicated that he would locate for us an appropriate staff person to whom we could share the entire Plan.

Then to our great surprise and disappointment, our contact person reported back that it was decided NOT to issue a Parents Day Proclamation. We tried to convince them that this was a poor decision, as it made President Obama the first president in history to not issue such a proclamation. This certainly seemed a contradiction for a president who has spoken so eloquently about the importance of parents in the lives and futures of children.

We, of course, have no idea whether the president himself or the first lady were involved in such a decision.

In terms of the other aspect of the Plan that has to do with acknowledging parents for participating in parenting programs, the issuing of Certificates of Appreciation, we have not had an opportunity to discuss this yet.

Medal of Freedom Contact

We continue to pursue whatever avenue of access that comes our way and are confident that it is just a matter of time before we get the ear of the President, the First Lady or someone in the policy making chain of command. Indeed, just last week we had a representative bring to a White House event packets of information about the Plan and related documents, brochures and DVDs. The event was the ceremony to award Medals of Freedom to national and international dignitaries. Our representative was a family member of one of the Medal recipients.

We have been informed that the packets were passed on to people who are senior advisers and who have indicated that they will share them directly with the President and the First Lady.

Subsequent articles in this series will report on this promising contact situation.

The next few articles of this series will be devoted to explaining the other aspects of the Plan, such as the idea for a White House Conference on Effective Parenting and the multi-faceted Effective Parenting Initiative that is being proposed.


How You Can Be Involved...

You can participate by commenting on this and future articles in The Parenting and the President series.

You can become supportive through letting the world know that it would be a better place if all children were raised by effective and sensitive parents who receive excellent parenting education. You can express such sentiments through signing our online Effective Parenting Petition (check here).

And /or you can become a member and supporter of the NEPI, the National Effective Parenting Initiative.

There are three types of memberships available, each of which has its own series of educational benefits and involvement opportunities. Click on the membership type you are most interested in learning about:

Your membership dues are not only used to provide the member benefits but to also support the various advocacy actions that are needed to bring these important matters to the attention of the president and the public in general. This entire effort is of a grassroots nature and membership dues, and funds that have been contributed to CICC over the years, are the only monies that are supporting it now.

For those of you who want to make a financial contribution but do not want to become members of NEPI, you can support this grassroots effort by making a tax-deductible contribution to CICC.

Click here to donate.

1 comment:

  1. I'm wondering why NEPI spends time and energy going for a symbolic gesture (like a proclamation) from the Obama administration, rather than focusing on the initiative with the most substance--the establishment of an Office of Parenting Education which could implement programs, influence legislation, provide funding, etc. I'm sure there's a good reason for going for the symbolic first; I just wonder what it is.