Speak Up–The Children Will Listen

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Pondering, Writing for Children

I’ve stepped away from social media quite a bit lately. The trolls and the drama of petty and cruel things has discouraged me. But I’ve always known the limit to my silence. A time would come when it would be impossible for me not to step forward and speak up. My fear of swallowing my words would be bigger than any terror I might feel in my exposure.


“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

— Robert Frost

On Tuesday I wrote a FB post in response to an article called Powerful Images Showing Where Young Syrian Refugees Sleep by Mangus Wennman. I felt the audience for my words was too limited, so I’d like to place that original post here.

I understand the legitimate fear of terrorist sneaking into our country on the backs of the Syrian refugee children and families in need of our help. But who ever said that doing the right thing–being a leader was easy? I believe more terror will be stopped by our kindness than will ever be stopped by our fear. When I think back at my personal heroes–the people I admire for their courage, intelligence and kindness–I know the kind of behavior I expect from myself.

If you watch a movie like Schindler’s list and walk out of the theater feeling good about yourself, you have to know that being someone’s hero must be earned–that it can never be without personal risk. I’m reading the book I AM MALALA right now and there is a quote from WWII that Malala references and it really stuck with me…

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

At my core I know what I would want someone to do for my children if this is what they looked like when they tried to go to sleep at night. How do you look these children in the eyes and turn them away? The day your fear becomes bigger than your humanity–there’s a good chance you don’t have anything worth defending anyway.

‪#‎realfirstworldproblems‬ ‪#‎bethechange‬

There were a range of thoughtful responses to my post. And those that saw things in a different way than I did, were in truth, just asking important questions. The biggest–how do we protect ourselves and our children from becoming victims too? I understand this. I have children. I wear the responsibility of their lives like an unprotected heart outside my chest. Some days it paralyzes me. But I have a truth I can’t deny. The finest and most satisfying moments in my life have been the ones where I’ve found my courage. I have never been as alive as when I’ve dared to be more–tried to be someone better. And as hard as it might be to put into practice, I don’t think I have a right to prevent my children from experiencing that depth of living. I wouldn’t want someone to take that away from me. When my boys were born and placed into my arms–I never once had visions of what they might one day lack in their lives. Instead, in an instant, their whole lives as extraordinary men played out before me. I could imagine who they would become and how that might change the world for the better. That was their gift.

I also mentioned in that FB post that I’m reading the book I AM MALALA. As every word of this young girls life slips into my ears and moves me deeply, I realize that her parents are the unsung heroes in her story. They never stopped their daughter from being the person they knew her to be in that moment she was first laid in their arms. As scary as it might be, they gave her the opportunity to be her best self. As a parent, may I always be that brave. #withMalala

“There is a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up.”

Today I choose not to be silent. I do this–not despite the safety of my children–but for their protection. I do not want them living in a world where girls are beaten for going to school, where refugee children sleep in the gutter, where everyone waits for the next shooter or bomb to strike. I do not want my children to live in a world where the voice of terror is louder than the voice of love. I can not bear to have my children believe they are incapable of being the change they wish to see in the world. Living life to it’s fullest is not an absence of adversity. Living is the triumph of the human spirit no matter what obstacles are in the way.

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn
To learn what to be
Careful before you say “Listen to me”
Children will listen

–Into the Woods

“You may only be someone in the world, but to someone else, you may be the world.”

— Unknown Author

Please speak up. The children will listen if we give them a chance.

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8 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. Kim, I agree — taking time out from social media is the only way to preserve my sanity right now. I share your feelings on these issues. I can’t in good conscience, support politicians who insist on closing our gates. It’s hypocritical.

    It’s inhuman.

    But yes, I feel you when you said you wear your love of your kids in an external heart… truer words were never spoken. Fear can’t guide us. At that point, we may as well bring back bomb shelters and start burrowing.

    • It’s so hard to be brave…but we have to try. <3

  2. beautiful. beautiful. and important reminders about trying to parent without fear. Thank you.

    • I think the only way to even try to do it right is to support each other. When we feel like we are alone in our fear it’s almost impossible. <3

  3. Thank you for putting into words what my heavy heart is feeling right now. Yes, we must believe in, stand up for, and be the voice of hope and love. Love you. <3

    • I share your heavy heart. I feel so impossibly inadequate to make a difference but I try to believe that every voice matters. <3

  4. Thank you for your eloquent and beautifully written opinions. I agree that we should
    offer the refuge children safe harbor. I would hope that if this were my child, she would be kept safe from harm.

    Thank you Kimberly

    • Everything changes when I switch my child with the one on the street. I try to let that guide my choices in life.

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