Earlier this year, a letter sent by a child to the LEGO toy company went viral. Seven-year-old Charlotte complained about the lack of opportunities for the LEGO girls available at her local toy store. She noticed that the girl figures only visit the beach and the shops, while LEGO boys have interesting jobs and even save lives. LEGO wrote back, adding to the story’s viral appeal and confirming for Charlotte that her questions were worthy of a response.
Why are we so pleasantly surprised when a child chooses to speak out? Children have a built-in sense of what’s ‘fair’ or ‘unfair.’ E-mail, Twitter and Facebook provide endless opportunities for any child who can spell to ask questions of companies, organizations and governments.
Here are five ways to your children thinking (and writing) about fairness this summer:
1) Help them feel heard: If a child feels something they see is unfair, encourage them to share more about their feelings. It doesn’t have to be global warming. Charlotte’s concern was simple, personal and right in front of her.
2) Ask them questions: Don’t end the conversation with “Yes, that’s sad.” There are many things to wonder about together. “I wonder who made the decision for this to happen?” or “Who do you think it hurt by this?” are great ways to keep them thinking.
3) Encourage them to write: Some questions you can answer; others you can’t. Help your child figure out who would be best to write to. Is it a toy company, a company that’s polluting the lake, or your municipal government?
4) Praise them for speaking up: Writing to a group of unknown adults can take courage, and your child deserves praise for taking the leap.
5) Broaden their horizons: Share age-appropriate news stories and issues with them. They may develop an interest in helping threatened animals (www.worldwildlife.org) or children who work to make our clothes or chocolate (www.nochildforsale.ca).
You may receive more than you bargained for the next time you announce bedtime, but you’ll certainly be impressed with their arguments!
Disclosure: This article was made possible through a partnership with World Vision Canada. #NoChildForSale