5 Responses to How To Hook Kids Into Civic Engagement

  1. Sarah says:

    I love this post. What a great lesson your children received about civics and I’m SO glad that Stephen received a letter back from our governor! It never would have occurred to me to take my children to a community meeting as I would assume that they would be bored and fidgety. I guess it just takes the right opportunity – what child wouldn’t have a vested interest in the local playground? Thanks for challenging me.

  2. Heather C says:

    I think that this is a classic example of how “show, don’t tell” can really work. You can tell kids to be involved and care about things, or you can show them what it looks like to do so, and include them in the process. Clearly, including them made a huge impression.

  3. Sherry says:

    I really liked the lesson you taught your kids about being involved–who knows how much better our communities would be if we all took time to do this? I think it is important to get kids involved with issues that they care about, as you did. I think it gives them a sense of connectedness and power to have a say in things that matter to them.

    We also got our kids involved in a cause they cared about in our neighborhood–saving the local library. When it seemed like budget cuts might close our branch, we talked with the librarians about their concerns during our weekly library night. I then wrote letters to the paper and city council, which the kids were very proud to see in print. There was a city budget meeting which I attended–I’m not sure kids were allowed–but I did tell them all about it! The Camera called with questions for an article and it felt good to see our opinions in print for all to see. When the branch was kept open and we were all thanked by all the librarians, it felt like a personal triumph. I think we all feel more connected to the library and the staff there because of our experiences.
    When we embark on our next civic project, I would like to get the kids even more involved, perhaps seeing if they would like to write their own letters to the paper and/or city council.

    • Wow what a great story! I bet your kids feel so proud every time they go to that library branch. It does feel like the key point is starting with something that already means a lot to your kids. I suppose we parents just need to be aware of those issues and point out and support our kids taking action. But the kids’ interest and motivation is already there.

  4. What a great story. It does seem critical, as others have written, that our children get involved in something that has personal meaning for them. I love that you included your kid in what was ostensibly an adult meeting. It makes total sense that children would be involved in the plans for a playground–after all, they’re the end-users. Great reminders.

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