Children are amazingly sensitive about social justice issues. I visit many classrooms as a special education paraprofessional. Recently, in a fifth grade class, the teacher shared a video about the working conditions in a garment factory in Bangladesh. After the video she posed a question to the students: Would you pay more for your clothes if you knew the workers in Bangladesh would receive a higher living wage and better working conditions? A resounding chorus of ‘yes’ and ‘of course’ rose up in the room. There was no hesitation in their reply.
This spring my blog, About Proximity, launched Kids Talk Justice, a series about engaging kids in justice issues along with service. We need not be afraid to teach our kids hard things and ask difficult questions. Simple family conversations can open up doors to teaching our kids the root causes, history, and various perspectives of justice issues. This knowledge helps guide our responses with greater love and grace, offering dignity to those in need. Our acts of service deepen when we think about the big picture of why and how inequality exists.
For five sessions this summer, About Proximity will host #KidsTalkJustice summer service playgroups in Holland, Michigan. We will engage making a difference, creation care, access to healthcare, clean water, access to education, and hunger while supporting local and global causes.
For those of you who aren't in Holland,we are also joining Pennies of Time, an organization that helps families and other groups provide opportunities to teach kids to serve others in their community, to run our Virtual Kindness Summer Camp. You can ask to join the interactive Facebook group here. We’d love to have you join the discussion. Each week advocates for family service projects will share different ways for families to give back over the summer. The group has already been in session for two weeks and I have been blown away by the unique ways families are making the world a better place.
The best part about being open with kids about justice issues is the way they teach us in return. I am continually humbled by their compassion, pure hearts, and insights. They are capable of so much, especially with the guidance of supportive community. We have the privilege to witness a new generation extending their hands in love and respect, and using their beautiful minds to create new solutions to pressing justice issues.
[Image from About Proximity]