Enjoy new tools to take positive action on a cause you care about.
I’m hearing from so many families working to shield their kids from political headlines.
Some are avoiding the news altogether. Others are taking care to find positive news stories to share with their kids. Those with older kids, like mine, are striving to help tweens and teens make sense of the national debate even as we struggle to find the sense in it ourselves.
Whatever your method, now is the perfect time to take a step back from headlines and step into the role of “advocate” with your kids.
Advocating and volunteering for a cause you care about is the best way to empower your family and let legislative leaders know that they represent everyone in their district, including your family and the causes that matter to you.
Why practice advocacy with your family?
Speaking up is empowering. Making a difference – even in small ways – feels powerful. Reaching out to elected officials with your concerns and expectations teaches kids that they have a voice. And reminds us as grown-ups too.
Speaking up feels good. Taking concrete action on a cause you care about is a powerful tool against abstract anxieties about the state of the world.
Speaking up makes a difference. If the issues you advocate for are specific and personal, your concerns are likely to be heard and may even make an impact on your legislators’ decision-making process. Some may even lead to new legislation!
Speaking up together teaches kids to be bold. Empowerment is a buzzword, but letting kids know their ideas and their concerns matter in our communities will translate to other areas of their lives. Practicing advocacy together will help them learn to speak up when their middle school has a lax recycling program or when they have a solution to the latest recess drama.
Here’s how to get started.
1. Choose an issue.
Clearly, any issue that matters to you is a great place to start. We’ve prepared free printable templates to help you out if you aren’t sure where or how to start.
2. Discuss your position.
Why does this issue matter to you? What do you know about this issue? Do a little research and learn about it together. Again, our new printable templates on hunger, healing the earth, and welcoming immigrants will get you started on these topics.
3. Draft your letter.
We’ve created three sample letters for kids that might be fun to help you get started. Click on the images below to download the templates.
4. Pledge to do your part.
Advocacy doesn’t end with dropping your letter in the mail. Volunteering for your cause is another important way to take action. For each of the issues featured in our templates, we offer “pledge sheets” detailing several ideas for how your family can make a difference.
5. Get out the vote!
Join me at the polls on November 6th (or sooner if early or absentee voting allows for it in your state), and bring your friends. Our government works best when more votes are cast and more citizens are engaged in the process.
Don’t let horrible headline news and the disappointing behavior of a small group of people have the last word. Take action, and teach advocacy. As a family, you’ll feel better. You’ll do better. And our world will be that much better off.
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The recommendations we offer are based solely on our mission to empower parents to raise children who care and contribute.