In these lean times of democracy, it can be real hard to stay positive and focused on the issues that really matter. The meaning of democracy keeps getting blurred by political party rhetoric and to not follow the status quo seems un-American. Luckily, there is a new frontline soldier to the activist movement and it comes in the voice of children.
In The Little Book of Activists, due out in September 2017, Leila Sales has assembled a book that tells the story of children getting involved in the power of democracy. These kids are not marching for an agenda but to show that democracy is for everyone, that their voice is important and the future belongs to them. In a recent article on Buzzfeed (https://www.buzzfeed.com/jarrylee/kid-activists-who-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity?utm_term=.lr9P4bPP7#.qiyP0nPPr), these children can be seen holding signs that encourage empowerment for little girls, gender equality, and the importance of being aware even thought naps are fun.
Getting children involved in activism doesn’t mean imparting your own personal agenda into their little brains, but getting them to know the importance of their voice in the democratic process. It is important to let them know that they don’t have to agree with everything the government says and that there are peaceful non-violent ways to have your voice heard.
When I was a kid, the rule of thumb was that children should be seen and not heard. This attitude that a child should not express his opinion, that their opinions don’t matter, carries a long way into their life. Getting kids at an early age to understand that what they have to say is important, that they are not wrong in voicing their concerns and, most of all, that they always have a right to be heard no matter if others think what they believe is wrong.
They say it is important to get children outside more to play and get exercise, but I think it should not stop there. Once outside, kids need to keep going, get out in the world and understand the importance of empowerment and equality. Their voices need to be heard, to be shared to the world, and then, they need to come inside for a nap.