Snow Days Used for Learning and Relaxing

I agree with everything the author says in the article ''Snow Tests Parents on 'Quantity Time' - and Many Don't Pass,'' Jan. 18. But I am distressed by her omission of what we are doing to our children if they have to be entertained all of their waking hours. Spending days cooped up with children would get boring and irritating if every minute is spent with them. However, is day care, television, and our feeling that we must be relating to them all the time depriving our children the time to play, explore, and think by themselves? I think the ideal ''snow time'' would be a relaxed space to enjoy my children and to have some time on my own while they learn on their own.

E. Frances Keck La Junta, Colo.

The article raises the disturbing point that many parents do not enjoy being with their children. As a home-schooling mother, I am astounded at the number of times I have heard other women tell me, ''Oh, I could never do that. I couldn't stand to be around my kids all day!'' Frequently, comments like these are made in front of children.

We need to figure out how to help those parents change their attitudes. They don't know what they are missing: the joys of being with their children, and the precious bonds that develop when family members are happy to be in one another's company.

Nicky Hardenbergh Manchester, Mass.

Leaving Castro in power: a mistake

I disagree with the fourth point made in the opinion-page article ''Latin American Policy: Some Proposed Steps,'' Jan. 25.

Indeed, all of us with friends and relatives oppressed by Fidel Castro Ruz want a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba. However, we reject a transition so gradual and unrealistic that it would leave Castro in power for the remainder of this century.

Castro has already had four decades to embrace genuine human rights and democracy - and he has yet to take even the first step. The people of Cuba are impatient for change after 37 years of oppression under Castro.

The Cuban Democracy Act of 1992 clearly spells out concessions we are prepared to make, if and when the Castro dictatorship holds free and fair elections and releases political prisoners. We must strengthen multilateral pressure on the Castro regime, just as we did in Haiti.

Stephen Vermillion Washington

Chief of Staff to Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R) of Florida

America's wars vs. Bosnia's

The editorial ''Outlook for Bosnia, '' Jan. 26, presents a prescription for rebuilding Bosnia.

The vision includes rebuilding the country's shattered social, economic, and political life; repairing its infrastructure; assisting in community-building; restoring social services; and undoing some of the damage that has been done by rampant nationalists.

If this vision is good for Bosnia's shattered society, it should be good for America's as well. The United States also is at war - with its poor, its elderly, its children, its workers, and the middle class.

The news media, including The Christian Science Monitor, should exert at least as much effort in behalf of America's future and present a caring visionary plan to help rebuild our shattered society.

Stephen Fein Mill Valley, Calif.

Candidates have to buy way to top

The editorial ''Term Limits Live, for Now,'' Feb. 1, is correct in its assertion that term limits are a bad idea. A more important point was missed, however.

Successful politicians increasingly must ''buy'' elections. The politicians then become beholden to financial contributors rather than to voters.

Term limits will only exacerbate this problem. Politicians will not only be looking for campaign funds, but also promises of a job when their term is up. The result is a revolving door of politicians in the hip pocket of special interests.

Serious campaign-finance reform is needed. The importance of money in acquiring political office must be reduced. Only then will legislators begin to respond to broad public interests.

Kate Faulkner Ventura, Calif.

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