I suppose the whole message of my “It’s OK” books is simply about speaking up.
Speaking up when something’s wrong. Speaking up directly child-to-child when a child doesn’t like something. Speaking up when the culture is at odds with what’s good for human beings. Speaking up if something is just plain wrong for life on this planet.
Sometimes we know something is wrong but we stay silent. That’s understandable, but make a resolution to practice courage. Silence can hurt. We hurt ourselves, our children and the people around us if we know something is wrong and don’t say anything.
For those of you who’ve bucked the system, questioned a teacher, family member or authority figure, disagreed with someone respectfully, been willing to state what you don’t like and work toward a solution together – you know it’s hard. Extremely hard. Speaking up takes courage.
Speaking up is hard. It’s lonely. It takes practice. It’s daunting, difficult and downright frightening for most of us as adults. But if we learn this practice from childhood, it’s much easier. It also gets easier with practice. Courage begets courage.
The topics in my books cover speaking up in many forms: conflicts over sharing, conflicts over friendships, conflicts over anything, homework, recess-deprived children, strangers, body limits, feelings, ideas, respect. Fundamentally it’s all about respect and kindness.
On the eve of the U.S. presidential election, I’m speaking out in favor of kindness. No matter what your past or current political views, do not let your vote endorse a person with bullying, bigoted ideals and give him a seat of world power. It’s dangerous. If your views are conservative, support other conservatives on the ticket.
What we need — at all ages — is to make an effort to understand each other, take care of each other and respect each other.
Taking turns. Speaking up. Listening. Practicing emotional control.
As Winston Churchill said: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Have you found your courage lately? Have you ever known something was wrong “in your gut” for a long time before speaking up? When’s the last time your practiced courage?