A letter written in 1984 by Ronald Reagan to a 13-year-old boy has hit the news again. The former president's reply to the boy's amusing request was, well...timeless.
Andy Smith, a seventh-grader from South Carolina, had a problem. His mother asked him to clean his room, and like any other kid, he looked for a way to worm out of it. In a burst of common sense, he decided to write to the president and request disaster funds so he could hire a cleaning crew to help him out.
Yahoo News provides the letter. Set aside for a moment the political chaos, constant campaigning, and all that seems to be wrong with this country and enjoy the humorous side of Ronald Reagan.
I'm sorry to be so late in answering your letter but as you know I've been in China and found your letter here upon my return.
Your application for disaster relief has been duly noted but I must point out one technical problem; the authority declaring the disaster is supposed to make the request. In this case your mother.
However setting that aside I'll have to point out the larger problem of available funds. This has been a year of disasters, 539 hurricanes as of May 4th and several more since, numerous floods, forest fires, drought in Texas and a number of earthquakes. What I'm getting at is that funds are dangerously low.
May I make a suggestion? This administration, believing that government has done many things that could better be done by volunteers at the local level, has sponsored a Private Sector Initiative program, calling upon people to practice voluntarism in the solving of a number of local problems.
Your situation appears to be a natural. I'm sure your mother was fully justified in proclaiming your room a disaster. Therefore you are in an excellent position to launch another volunteer program to go along with the more than 3,000 already underway in our nationÂ—congratulations.
Give my best regards to your mother.
Sincerely, Ronald Reagan"
Â—From Reagan: A Life in Letters
There. Now don't you feel better? The letter is a classic, and deserves to be making the rounds once again. Little did Reagan realize, at the time he wrote it, just how timeless...and prophetic it would be.