Readers write: teens under the influence of IS; Dolley Madison the bridge builder

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 7, 2015 weekly magazine.

Courtesy of Christianne Boudreau
After her son, Damian (right), was killed fighting for the Islamic State, Christianne Boudreau formed Hayat Canada to help provide family-based intervention services for parents in Canada and the US who suspected that their children may be radicalizing.

Helping teens under influence of IS
Thank you for the very revealing Nov. 9 cover story, “The recruiting of an American jihadi.” It is a sad indictment of our inadequate efforts to reach out with love and understanding to all our teenagers to discuss their concerns and guide them with wisdom in a compassionate faith.

Hence, I was very disappointed in the sidebar “How to save kids from IS recruitment.” It offers very little useful advice to parents – not even a link to better guidance. Waiting until a young person has been drawn in by Islamic State social media is late in the game.

Unfortunately, the adults in this country are not providing a very good example, with all the fireworks in Washington and on the campaign trail.
Kris Johnson
Williston, Ohio

Dolley Madison’s bridge building
Regarding the Nov. 2 Monitor’s View “How Canada’s election just might help save democracy”: The editorial shows how Canada’s new leader, Justin Trudeau, stands in stark contrast to our polarized political atmosphere with his (so far) inclusive style. However, when I read the editorial I was reminded of someone in the early 1800s who brought the polarized factions of our newly formed US government together in an incredibly inspired way and may have provided the glue that held it together.

First lady Dolley Madison brought all sides and classes of society together to talk civilly in her weekly “squeezes” (open houses at the Madison residence) and would introduce congressmen to each other for the very reason so eloquently stated in the editorial. Madison’s contributions to our democratic form of government cannot be overstated. Just one sign of the great appreciation and respect both the government and society in general had for her is a now-little-known fact that she was given an honorary seat in Congress to use after her husband’s death. It was frequently said of Madison that she loved everyone. And in turn everyone loved her.
Robin Kadz
Beaverton, Ore.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.