In the US, the Maine National Guard is using a unique method to help families connect to their loved ones deployed in Iraq. They’re life-sized cardboard cutouts. If your father (or mother) is deployed in Iraq, you can get a Flat Daddy to help keep the absent parent involved in family life.
“Many military units can provide families with a life-size cardboard cutout of their overseas warrior. The family can then take that figure to parties, put it in the passenger seat of their car, take it to bed or do whatever it is that families want to with a replica of their loved one. Named after Flat Stanley, a children’s book character who was squashed flat, the cutouts have been a surprise hit since they were introduced. In Maine alone, the state’s National Guard has given out more than 200 Flat Soldiers since January. Experts believe the cutouts are a useful psychological device, especially for children, that helps cope with the stress of long absences. It allows the family to genuinely feel the missing person is still involved in day-to-day life.”- Source.
In NSW, we have just had a state election where the winning Labor party Premier Morris Iemma, amongst other things, stated that the Coalition government’s WorkChoices campaign was a factor in their loss.
I want the federal Labor party to start giving out Flat Daddies and Flat Mummies to any children that tell a caregiver, teacher, Nanna, Pop, or friends that they miss their working parent, be they in or out of the military, and they don’t get to see enough of them. I want this done to highlight just how little work/life balance WorkChoices legislation affords the working parents of Australian children.
It would also remind Australians, in an election year, that we are still in an illegal war in Iraq!