Kids Demand Leadership
This past weekend, kids stood up in front of thousands of other kids and adults and said: "Enough is enough. Do something!" Their call to action is to we adults who are failing them.
Kids today live in an upside down, chaotic, dangerous world. How are we protecting them? In response to their protest and appeal for protection, the president of the United States, the nation’s most visible adult, flew to his estate in Mar-a- Lago.
Our country is a very large family system. There are over 54 million students - kids - who attend school. Every kid needs a parent who will listen to them and do what it takes to keep them safe.
What does it take to get leadership’s attention? Parent and politician. Kids know when no one’s listening. They also know when no one’s in charge.
Martin Luther King's granddaughter, Yolanda Renee, age 9, got thousands to chant - "Spread the word. Have you heard? We’re going to be a great generation."
Translation – “We’re not going be like you.”
Most of the speakers yesterday cannot yet vote but promise they will. Change will come on their watch, they say.
Translation – “We’ve lost faith in you.”
Not trusting adults is a scary place for kids. When all the hoopla is over, they are still just kids who have to go back to school.
Kids should be welcomed at the adult table to discuss gun reform. Trump needs to invite kids into the White House, not for show and tell, but for a serious, continuous discussion that validates what they’re going through and how we are going to move forward together.
Our country is like a dysfunctional family. We don’t get along. We don’t listen to each other. The adults are fighting while kids are getting killed. Whose paying attention to our kids? Whose protecting them? Whose fighting for them? We must. Their parents. It’s our job to do whatever it takes.
When adults are not doing the job of keeping children safe, kids get angry because they’re afraid. They act out. They internalize. They’re pushed out of childhood. They stand in bold silence for six minutes to draw attention to the six minutes an adolescent shooter changed their lives forever. They bring guns to school. They do whatever it takes to get their parents and leaders attention because they know they can’t do it without them.
Trump’s behavior tells us how he was parented. He doesn’t listen because he wasn’t listened to. He is highly defended because he didn’t feel safe as a child. He is reactive and childlike because he is scared. The sad truth is being a president doesn’t make you a leader. Being a parent doesn’t make any of us leaders. We have to work at leadership. We have to earn it. We have to show up, listen, problem solve and take action.
The Parkland kids are forever changed. Who they were before the shooting is over. They know it. And they will suffer for years. They need to know we have heard them. They need to know we will help them heal by moving into leadership in our homes and communities. Whatever it takes.
We need to give children their childhoods back. Are we like Trump flying away when he’s most needed? Or are we turning around, sitting down, listening and doing what it takes so kids in this country never have to think a school is a place where people die.
If we don’t step up, as parents and leaders, we will be the generation of parents who did nothing.