If you’re anything like me, flipping through the news each day can feel draining. There’s so much injustice and suffering, and even though we can donate and volunteer, it can feel as though it’s not enough. But what’s one way to make sure we’re helping build a better world? Raising our children so they grow up to be open, inclusive, and socially-conscious individuals.
I know what you might be thinking. This sounds like one of those crazy, snowflake-y ideas. But really, I’m just talking about values we should all agree on. Respecting others. A curiosity to learn. Empathy and kindness.
How do we do this? Can you just put on NPR and hope that your baby catches up on the news? Well, no. I mean, I encourage you to do what feels right, so if you feel like the soothing tones of Terry Gross are helping your baby learn, more power to you!
I believe you have to be more intentional. You have to model, talk about, and teach these ideas, those of feminism and consent and recognizing power imbalances and being open to diversity and SO MUCH MORE. And you have to do it on purpose.
In Raising Socially Conscious Children, I will choose a different topic each month, and give you some concrete ways to teach these skills. Because I believe it takes skills to embody these values, and the only way to help our country grow is to make sure the next generation is prepared to help.
What can you do in the meantime?
Model the behavior you want to see. Young children learn through imitation. So whatever they see you doing or hear you saying, they will learn to do and say.
Keep learning. Seek out articles, books, movies, poetry, art, or WHATEVER. Just look for things made by someone who comes from a different background than you. Make it a priority to see the world through someone else’s perspective.
Allow your children (and yourself!) to ask questions. Children are so perceptive, and often have such great questions. Yes, the 77th “but why?” question can feel a tid bit annoying. But trust me, it is worth it to keep answering them, to help cultivate little, inquisitive minds.
To go back to the idea of snowflakes, we’re honestly all snowflakes in a way! We’re all different. Even two siblings, raised by the same parents, in the same house, will have their differences. If we’re open and accepting, then we’ll find beauty in those differences.