Stop saying children should been seen and not heard, they have a voice!
Growing up I heard countless adults say: "children are to be seen and not heard." It was even said to me a few times, but I didn't really buy into it, which is why I got my a** whipped a lot.
As an adult, I applied that same level of rebellion to the silencing of youth voices by providing amplification whenever possible. When I became a teaching artist -- responsible for sculpting young minds in grades K-5 -- I truly began to recognize children's ability to see the world just as it is, and to say what's on their mind without filtering it first through a sugar coating machine.
Although many times my students left me speechless and troubled by the things they would say, their thoughts and experiences were no less valid than mine. I respected their soft and delicate voices. I never once thought to devalue their childhood by insinuating that their younger years are meant for them to live as silent bodies who witness injustice without having a proper response.
Parents, when you say things like "children should be seen and not heard," or tell your kids the reason you had them was so they can run to the store or change the channel on the TV if the batteries in the remote die, what you're really saying is: YOU HAVE NO VALUE!
We need to appreciate and listen to the youth voices in our society. They tell a story we can't see, or are unwilling to acknowledge. We need to amplify our youth's voices, as they have not yet been tainted by political correctness, and thus their reality is most likely our reality, too. Children should not only be seen, but heard, acknowledged, and engaged in life when it makes sense.
For our young people to grow into leaders and not losers, we have to set high expectations, provide opportunities to explore, and create spaces for them to respectfully challenge the social norms. Children will either grow into leaders or losers; your interaction with them determines that outcome.
This article appears as a part of a series by Techbook Online entitled "Are You Raising Losers or Leaders?"
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I'm Flood the Drummer and I'm Drumming for JUSTICE!
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