Melania Trump on Monday gave her multipronged effort to promote the well-being of children a minimalist new motto: “BE BEST.”
The first lady formally launched her long-awaited initiative after more than a year of reading to children, learning about babies born addicted to drugs and hosting a White House conversation on cyberbullying.
“As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and often times turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide,” she said in prepared remarks.
“I feel strongly that as adults, we can and should ‘be best’ at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life,” Mrs. Trump said.
The first lady said early on that she would focus on child well-being. The goal of her public awareness campaign is to encourage parents and other adults to teach children how to be good citizens, including being kind, not bullying on social media or anywhere else, staying away from drugs and taking care of themselves.
The campaign will focus on the issues of well-being, social media and opioid abuse, she said.
“If we truly listen to what our kids have to say, whether it be their concerns or ideas, adults can provide them the support and tools they need to grow up to be happy and productive adults who contribute positively to society and their global communities,” said Mrs. Trump, who made the announcement in the White House Rose Garden as President Donald Trump looked on from the audience.
She said Monday that social media is too often used in negative ways and that it is important for children to learn positive online behaviors at a young age.
“I do believe that children should be both seen and heard, and it is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind them that when they are using their voices — whether verbally or online — they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion,” the first lady said.
Modern first ladies typically highlight personal causes, from Nancy Reagan’s campaign to get kids to “Just Say No” to drugs to the emphasis the late Barbara Bush and her daughter-in-law Laura Bush placed on literacy and education to Michelle Obama’s signature “Let’s Move” campaign against childhood obesity, which she launched about a year after moving to the White House.