Arlene is on the SCENE

Creating Young Activists

Posted on: October 4, 2012

I watched the debate along with the throngs. First thought, what a way to spend an anniversary. 🙂

But when I sat down to watch, I called the kids in. At ages 13 and almost 12, I figured it’s about time. Time for them to participate and engage. They need to pay attention to what’s happening around them, learn to keep learning, and become part of the discourse.

OK, well, it was a challenge. The older one checked her email, glancing up once in a while, and the younger one arranged his mini-M&M’s into shapes on the coffee table. But then they did begin to listen, especially to my shouts at the television. And then the 13 year old went off: how are you going to lower taxes for everyone and still have enough money to pay for everyone?! The younger one looked up at me to ask, “Wouldn’t Obama have done that already?”

Ah, there it is. The healthy questioning that is the foundation of this country. (It’s true. See Stan Mack’s great new book.) The refusal to simply accept what the government or the leaders or the establishment says just because they’re appear to be at the top. The masses have something to say too. We have brains. And our leaders have no secret formula. It’s all up for debate.

I’m hoping that our next book in the Arlene series, Arlene, Rebel Queen, can help to empower our children to ask questions, speak up, think for themselves. Arlene and her friends learn the right–and wrong–way to create change. The goal is to convince the young that they have a voice in all this too.

One of my favorite songs, my favorite groups, speaks to this beautifully:

On Children by Sweet Honey in the Rock


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