20 Ways to Inspire Kids by Showing Up as an Everyday Activist

20 Ways to Inspire Kids by Showing Up as an Everyday Activist

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is Activism?

What comes to mind when you hear the term activist? Who or what are you picturing?
In conversations with friends, family members, and clients, I’ve noticed that many folks think that activism is only for people who are doing justice work full time. They associate the term activist with people who are leading protests or lobbying at the state Capitol building every day.
However, I’d like to remind you that every decision you make holds political weight. The personal is political.
That said, activism is work that all of us can engage in.
We all have the tools to stand up for our values and beliefs each and every day. The tools are completely free and are already at your fingertips. No degree or training or materials are necessary.
This is my working definition of activism: Using my resources, including my voice, physical presence, money, energy, and time, to honor and support people, institutions, and policies that align with my values and highest vision for our world.
For example, some of the ways I practice activism on a regular basis include recycling, donating to local organizations that I am inspired by, and taking my own reusable bags to the grocery store.
So, I will ask you to again consider: What comes to mind when you hear the term activist? Who or what are you picturing?
Is there anything different from your first thoughts, feelings, or beliefs? How so?

10 Ways to Show Up as an Everyday Activist

In developing a broad and inclusive definition of activism, one that invites each one of us into mindful living, I have come up with a list of 20 ways to practice everyday activism with your family.
I invite you to print and browse the list below and notice which items you are already doing; circle those numbers. Place a star next to the items that make you feel excited, motivated, intrigued, or curious. Additionally, notice which items you feel most resistant towards; put a dot next to these.
1. Spend time in your community. Get out and about in your neighborhood and city. Just being with diverse groups in the community will support your awareness and growth, and you’ll make meaningful connections.
2. Commit to one small act a day/week that connects to your passions, interests, and values. For example, if you are concerned about environmental issues, you can work on the community garden in your neighborhood. If you are interested in narrowing the class divide, serve at a shelter or food bank.
3. Vote. At every election. Did you know that school boards make a ton of decisions that impact your city at large? Yes, every election and every position matters.
4. Volunteer. Find local organizations to support through your time and energy.
5. Read and research about the topics and issues you are called to AND the ones that feel at the edge of your comfort zone. Read more; explore a range of sources and mediums. Know that you don’t always have to have an answer because questions and curiosity are powerful. Most importantly, stay open to learning more, not only about the “issues” on the table but about yourself as well.
6. Find creative outlets for your processing and expression. As you read and research and talk, things can get heavy and emotional. Having outlets for these feelings is important. I, personally, turn to writing most often. Art and music are other wonderful ways to express the depths of your experience.
7. Share your own stories and experiences as it feels right. When you have a story or experience that speaks to your values and positions, include that in your conversations as you are comfortable and as it feels relevant. Remember that you can engage in conversations virtually and in real life (IRL).
8. Talk with friends and family about the issues you are curious about. Sweeping politics under the rug just doesn’t work, and, furthermore, it’s a symptom of privilege. The call to action here is to be authentic in naming your values and concerns and engaging your loved ones on these topics.
9. Support products, services, and companies that DO align with your values. Spend your money supporting people and institutions that you agree with. Local is always a great place to start if this feels obscure or overwhelming.
10. Boycott products, services, and companies whose values DON’T align with yours.  Simply don’t buy from companies that don’t align with your values. Look into big brands, whether they make food, cleaning products, cosmetics, or clothing, and learn about how ethical (or not) they are.
11. Write letters, send faxes, or call local and federal politicians. Follow the legislation that is being proposed in your state and at the federal level. When you find a law that you align with, write or call in your support. Likewise, when you find a law that you see as harmful, write or call in your dissent. Find out who represents you here!
12. Use online petitions and bots to send letters and opinions. Show support for issues you care about by signing on to (or starting!) petitions; explore change.org to get started signing today. You can also easily write letters to your politicians through bots like resist.bot.
13. Share and retweet content on social media. The internet has allowed us to share issues and solutions in a matter of seconds. Hashtags have helped people gather both virtually and IRL, and one way that you can show support for movements, news, and leaders is by sharing or retweeting. #BlackLivesMatter helped us realize the power of the internet in creating a movement and inspiring professional and “everyday” activists to gather together.
14. Journal. Explore your own biases and gaps in knowledge and experience. When you have questions and curiosities, go to the page. Ask yourself to think through the questions. Maybe, like me, you’ll end up with more questions, and this, too, is growth.
15. Incorporate donation into regular events you host or attend. Ask friends to bring canned food or feminine hygiene products to events. Then, donate the collection to local organizations. Typically, most people will have these items on hand already so this is a great way to engage your community in activism.
16. Host or participate in book clubs or conversation groups that are focused on current events and issues. You can find established book clubs via MeetUp.com or branch out on your own to gather a group of folks who are interested in reading and being curious together. I have facilitated a feminist book club and a Decentering Whiteness community in Austin, Texas, for example.
17. Find mentors and guides. Lots of them. Notice which leaders you are feeling called to. Which ones challenge you and offer you opportunities for growth? Again, explore different mediums— podcasts, books, Instagram influencers, and so on.
18. Enroll in trainings to learn more about issues you care about and/or to hone your activism skills. Seek out trainings (again, online or IRL) to support you in your journey. Check with your employer to see if they are willing to sponsor your learning opportunities!
19. Financially support activists, educators, politicians who are working for change. Give money to folks on the front lines, people who are dedicating their lives to this work. You can do this through organizations, Patreon, or Venmo, for example. Many activists are sharing their Venmo accounts and taking compensation in this way.
20. Practice self-care. In order to show up fully for this work, you’ll need to be refueled and recharged. Maintain practices that allow you to rest and relax!

Practicing Activism as a Family

Activism is not adult work, it’s human work. Each item on this list is available to the children and teens in your life. Making activism a part of everyday family life will support tremendous growth, from self-awareness to connection with others to participation in community. This is what Connected Hearts is all about.
As you begin this work, you may find yourself and your family ready to engage in meaningful, yet difficult, conversations. This guide will support your family as you engage in these tough chats.
Here’s to living with open hearts and minds as we work together as human activists! See you out there!
Please Stop Telling Me What To Say To My Kids

Please Stop Telling Me What To Say To My Kids

There are so many articles “(Insert Number Here) Things Not To Say To Your Kids“ doing the rounds that tell you how to talk to your children. And I find it amusing to say the least.

I have a hard enough time keeping track of all the things to do in my day and everything the family needs. Telling me to reword myself in every parenting situation is an unrealistic goal.
We are all human. And the best part of being human is having emotions. Check out any robot movie! Being emotional makes us vulnerable to our surroundings.

So guess what?

When my child has to be told for the 10th time to wear his shoes as we are getting late for a class I am paying 30+ dollars for or my toddler keeps using the words ” Oh my Gosh. Look at her butt! “(from the movie Sing) in spite of being told not to over and over again, I will scold them. When my son is rude to me, I will give him a time out. When my daughter lies down on the floor screaming about candy after we have been out all day doing chores, I will come home and vent to my husband, passionately (and loudly).

Mind you, in no way am I condoning being sarcastic or humiliating you child. I am talking about those times that people say the right thing in a misplaced tone or words that slip out in exasperation! Yells that arise from spilled milk after you getting ready for guests or screams of caution when your child is doing something dangerous.

Forgive yourself those.

 How Martin Luther King Jr. Biography Affected Me

I was reading Martin Luther King Jr’s biography last week and was surprised that his father, a pastor no less whipped him mercilessly when he made mistakes. Yet more than the whipping MLK feared disappointing his father. He never lost sight of the fact that even though the consequences were severe, his father loved him and only meant to guide him.

And he turned into an inspiration for everyone around him.

When I was a child, I feared my mother’s eyes. When acting out, I could sense her across the room holding me in that particular stare that said, “I know what you did and you are going to get an earful when we go home!” Those eyes kept me grounded. I don’t remember the yelling. I was always secure knowing my mother loved me enough to pay give importance to all I do. However, I will always remember the important life lessons that came with.

Of course, I don’t condone whipping you child but why do we think times have changed so much that kids will get traumatized, forget how much they are loved if merely scolded or said the wrong thing to ?

A World Of Nice Parents 


Imagine a world where everyone was always nice to their kids. Where you were mild mannered whether your child was right or wrong. Where you clapped for them even when they failed. Where you were always smiling and hugging them. That would lead to a world where children would not have the capability of processing negative emotions.

They wouldn’t have a sense of achievement. They would never have learned how to handle failure. When someone disagreed with them, they would be at a loss as to the right way to respond. In a world of bullies born of weaknesses, they need to understand that sometimes people act out when they are actually hurting inside.

The pressure of being “right” all the time will eventually get to you. Notice when your child is behaving badly in public and you have tried everything positive that isn’t working. The child needs a time out or telling to but you need to go to the car/home first. Think about how suffocated you feel during that time. How upset! Now imagine if you went months feeling like that. Eventually all those emotions will catch up and you will definitely implode! Is that what you want to instill in your child?

My mother often told me a famous Indian story of a thief who grew up with a mother who pampered and praised him no matter what. When he finally got arrested, his mom went to visit him. He called her close to him and bit her ear off saying, “ You are my mother. It was your job to twist my ear and tell me when I was doing wrong. “

It is not a parent’s job to be nice to their children. It is to love them. It is to guide them. To be mature human beings ready to lead the next generation.


How Martin Luther King Jr. Biography Affected Me and My Parenting | Family goals | Life Lessons

Being Human in Parenting

Today the culture is so self serving and peer affected. It is our responsibility to ensure children learn to differentiate right from wrong. To do the right thing when it needs doing. To do chores. To study hard. To be kind, gentle, responsible people who know how to respect every thing and being.

I have yet to meet a person who does something without prompting. And after multiple prompts it is natural to end up irritated. By using different strategies, I try to find the one way that will convince them of what needs doing. Every day is a constant battle with children. From brushing you teeth to the second they close their eyes, there is sly tact, persistent prompts, exasperated yelling involved. On rare occasions the method/wording is uncalled for. And I apologize. But that too teaches my children that reacting wrongly is natural. It is acceptable to make mistakes as long as you are willing to course correct.

Kids should know there are consequences to their actions. That it is okay to vent. They should understand that just because someone yells or says something that they don’t like doesn’t mean that person hates them. Often the person is just tired of not being heard. Youngsters today need to know how to process emotions. Words are only as important as the intention behind them.

[bctt tweet=”A parent’s job is not to be nice to their child. It is to guide them. Martin Luther King Jr. Biography made me introspect on what my job as a parent really is. ” username=”contactrwc”]

I will give you, the “what not to say” lists thoughtfully made are useful in making us ponder about how words can be perceived. In sensitive situations that is a must! Words can hurt, yes! But we need to remember that the intention behind sentences uttered is more important that the words themselves. We need to focus on our history with the person uttering them. We need to remember people make mistakes.

Acknowledge that and process it. Discuss it with the person in question if it truly matters. Then move on.

If we all start focusing on what is said to us and ignore actions that truly speak their own language, we will lose sight of the good in humanity.

  Aditi Wardhan Singh is a mom of two, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place. A computer engineer by profession, she is now a freelance writer and entrepreneur having founded Raising World Children. Impromptu dance parties and trips to the library with her little ones  are her ultimate picker upper. She provides tools to open minded parents to empower their children to raise positive, gracious, global thought leaders. She currently writes for the HuffingtonPost, Thrive Global, RMB and is author in “When You Are Done Expecting ”