After posting my older two children striking at the Global Climate Strike at Queen’s Park on Friday, I received a few similar DMs asking the following: 1. If my kids understood what they were striking for 2. If I thought they were too young for activism.
As a parent, I feel that it is my responsibility to educate my children about global social injustice issues (in age-appropriate terms that they can understand, of course). I want them to be aware of events happening in the world even if it is not part of their day-to-day reality. They understand concepts such as war, poverty, homelessness, genocide, child labour, and gender inequality even though they haven’t necessarily lived through it. We are selective about which products we buy and what we watch and listen to so they are being taught about corruption within the government, media, and big corporations and as a result ethics. I don’t believe we do our children any favors by protecting them from global issues, especially ones that will affect them directly such as climate change. My goal is to raise empathetic children who will fulfill their social responsibility by volunteering, donating what they can, boycotting unethical companies, and striking as needed.
Of my three children, Udayan is the most environmentally conscious and I’ve been fostering that in him since he was two. He would sort out garbage, recycling, and compost at that age at not only our place but everywhere he went. He gave up eating meat/fish when he was three, entirely on his own. When I first came across Greta Thunberg about an year ago, I showed Udayan that one person can really make a difference. The kids have been quite inspired by Greta and have been following her #FridaysForFuture strikes so they were excited to make signs and participate in last Friday’s global climate strike. So to answer the question – They definitely understood what they were striking for and my belief is that a child is never too young to stand up for what he/she believes in.