“And there comes at time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.’’

-       Martin Luther King, Jr



Standing up for injustices and improving our society takes courage.

I was reading an article about Martin Luther King, Jr recently, and I was struck by how courageous he was to stand up in front of supporters as well as people who wanted to silence him and speak not just poetic words of unity, but radical words of change, all the while risking his own safety. How does one learn courage of that magnitude?

And then I wondered, are we actively teaching our kids to be courageous? Parents and schools are often focused on lessons like, “Be kind. Be inclusive.” We rarely say, “Be brave when it’s time to stand up for something.” 

Some of the lessons that make a household, or a classroom, run smoothly today might actually prevent our kids from being brave. The pervasive lessons tell them to cooperate, go along with the group, and not to make any waves. Maybe we don’t want a room full of 5th graders to stand up when they see something as unfair, but then how will they learn to stand up?

Even when our kids grow to an age where they want to stand up for something, they often do so by going along with the crowd.

How do we encourage leadership instead?

Our kids learn that their viewpoints are valuable when they have adults who truly listen to them.

They learn principles when they see our principles.

They learn courage when they watch us stand up for what we believe in.

Posted on January 21, 2019 .