Play – without the fancy toys
Many thanks for bringing parents' and children's issues to the Monitor with the Jan. 23 cover story "Time for play."
I was, however, a bit taken aback by the images accompanying the article and accompanying sidebars about play: In every image, the children were playing with, in, or on expensive branded plastic and metal toys, and in many shots, the children were indoors.
Could we be encouraging parents to be playing with their children – and more important, allowing their children to play – in nature? This setting and form of play has the great advantage of being readily available, free of charge, good for the planet, and deeply relaxing.
On the subject of play, these simplifying insights can be helpful:
• Having too many toys invites emotional disconnect and a sense of being overwhelmed.
• The child given less and less complexity will cultivate true powers of attention.
• Children's play flourishes when we let it, rather than make it, happen.
Licensed mental health counselor
"Simplicity Parenting" training and certification coordinator
Great Barrington, Mass.
Opposing voter ID is wrong
"A showdown over voter ID" in the Jan. 16 issue summarizes the debate over voter ID in this question: "Do stronger state voter ID laws really curtail the minority franchise?"
I work at the election polls in Indiana. We require voter ID. And because of it, we do not have nonresidents voting. We do not have underage people voting. We do not have dead people voting. All residents can obtain state-approved photo IDs at any local Department of Motor Vehicle office.
Elections can run very close, such as the caucus contest in Iowa, where Mitt Romney was originally announced as the winner over Rick Santorum by eight votes, only to have a review of the votes reveal that Mr. Santorum actually prevailed by just 34 votes.
"But many Democrats decry the strictest rules – which won't allow a ballot to be counted unless that voter presents a state-approved photo ID – as a conspiracy to suppress turnout of their party's constituency, namely the poor, minorities, and college students," the article explains.
Americans must show photo ID to fly. Sometimes I have to show my driver's license when using my credit card. To say that minorities, poor people, or college students may be too befuddled to possess or acquire a photo ID is ridiculous.
They can and do obtain photo IDs all the time. Saying that they can't obtain a legal state ID is putting these people down.
Diana Morlock Virgil