Family Activism and Helping Teens Make a Difference

Family activism is tough when you have kids. If you have teens, you probably realize by now that they enjoy spending their free time sleeping, eating, shopping and hanging with friends. While those are all fun pursuits for teens, they aren’t what I consider great life goals.  Sleeping til noon and eating an entire bag of chips in one sitting aren’t activities that are going to change the world anytime soon.

I am trying to raise my teens with an awareness for social issues. While we are definitely on the ‘far left’ in terms of our beliefs, I try to make sure to teach them that all issues have two sides.  And to be respectful of people who’s opinions are different from our own.  However, I want them to understand how vital it is to get involved in issues that are important to them.  Each person has a voice and family activism is one way of helping teens make a difference in this world.

Family Activism and Helping Teens Make a Difference

Family Activism and Helping Teens Make a Difference

This weekend, I marched with my family in the Atlanta March for Science.  We bought science themed shirts, packed snacks and water, and ventured onto the MARTA public transportation system together to march for a cause that is important to us.  It’s sad that in today’s society, science has become a political issue.  Science is, by its very definition, based on facts.  Facts should not be political.

How can you encourage teens to get involved in a cause?  JOIN THEM!

March for Science Atlanta

I don’t write about politics very often but if you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know that I am passionate about the environment.  This is another cause that should NOT be a political issue.  It baffles my mind how any person, liberal or conservative, can allow society and big business to pollute and destroy our planet.  I have raised my teens to be respectful of the earth.  I raised them to recycle everything they can and taught them how to reduce waste at home.  To turn off lights when not in use.  We buy second hand when possible, compost, garden, and work hard as a family to reduce our carbon footprint. I want to raise eco friendly children so these are values we teach at home and values I want them to learn to fight for as they get older.

Want to teach teens to get involved?  Raise them to fight for the values that you have raised them with.  Teach them to be the change that THEY want to see in the world.

Family Activism

It is hard for one person to make a difference in the grand scheme of things.  Me recycling my cereal boxes isn’t going to stop major corporations from dumping toxic waste in our oceans.  However, there are ways that teens (and adults!)  CAN make a difference on a larger scale.  Here are a few ways to encourage your teens to get involved in causes that are important to them.

  • Educate others:  Teach your teens to live their beliefs without being preachy about it.  When out with friends, recycle their soda cans.  Sitting at lunch and hear people using derogatory terms for minorities or the LGBTQ community?  Speak up.  Teach them to be vocal in their beliefs in public to help educate others.
  • Run for office:  My kids are not the student government types but running for office in high school can help them bring real and lasting changes to their school.  Family activism is great but laws are made by politicians.
  • Demonstrate: Marching for a cause has brought a lot of change to this world over the past decades.  Women’s rights, the Civil Rights movement, anti-war protests…. people have been standing up and marching for a cause for a long time.  It is an effective method of raising awareness for a cause.  Marching alone won’t make enact change but it does get eyes on the issues!
  • Use social media for good: Instead of just using social media to share selfies, teach them to use it to raise awareness for a cause.  Tell them to check out the article How to Start a Movement on Social Media for ideas.
  • Get the community involved:  Get other people involved in your cause.  Take surveys, have people sign petitions, ask for donations for your cause.  It is important to get the community involved to enact greater change.  Change happens best when the masses get involved! Get the local community involved in your social good project for the greatest change.

How to Start a Movement

Family activism is important to us. My kids are teens but we have been volunteering for an assortment of causes since they were young.  If we ever want to have adults who are passionate about a cause, we need to teach our children to get involved and take a stand.  If your child has a cause they are passionate about, take an interest in it.  Encourage them to take steps to make a difference and show them how to do it.  If they DON’T have a cause?  Let them see YOU fighting for one that is important to you.

Every single person should have a cause they are passionate about.

What is yours?

 

Books about family activism on Amazon

Family Activism: Empowering Your Community, Beginning with Family and FriendsIt's Our World, Too!: Young People Who Are Making a Difference: How They Do It - How You Can, Too!The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back: Youth, Activism and Post-Civil Rights PoliticsIt's Your World--If You Don't Like It, Change It: Activism for TeenagersGrassroots Activism and the Evolution of Transitional Justice: The Families of the DisappearedThat's Not Fair!: A Teacher's Guide to Activism with Young Children

 

About Diane

Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke!

Comments

  1. I think activism is very important but it's great that you are doing it as a family! It's always good to be passionate.

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