#Talk Justice: Human Trafficking

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Human Trafficking

The topic of human trafficking can be a difficult one to breach with children. You definitely want to be sensitive to age and personalities. This topic is actually where this series originated. My friend and writer Amy Sullivan had an experience when this topic was brought up in a classroom. Not everyone was as open to their students knowing about the realities around them.

Amy and I were talking about how we believe we do no favors to our children if they do not understand injustice. In opening up dialogue we develop empathy, compassion, and the ability to make a difference.

Increasing their awareness also makes them safer. A sad truth is that child labor and sex trafficking don’t just happen across the ocean. It is happening in our own communities. Take a look at this United States map from Polaris Project showing locations where human trafficking has been reported. According to Exodus Road 3 out of 4 victims are trafficked on-line.

Start small and work your way to all the truths we encounter as your children’s age progresses. You can begin teaching young kids about the history of slavery, human rights and child labor.

Human Trafficking Discussion Starters:

human trafficking conversation starters

Help your family go deeper: 

  • What are some root causes of human trafficking?
  • poverty- parents needing to pay off debts, not being able to afford to care for children
  • gender inequality where women are not as valued
  • racial discrimination, caste system where some lives are not as important as others
  • government or political corruption where the laws do not protect
  • undocumented immigration status
  • demand for cheap goods and labor
  • Where is there more vulnerability? 
  • drug and alcohol addiction
  • homelessness, runaways, abuse
  • women and girls
  • those affected by poverty
  • How do our choices of what we buy affect the demand for child labor?
  • What organizations could we support that focus on human trafficking?
  • What do we need to do as a family to be safe on the internet?

 Ways to Take Action! 

For parents the National Trafficking Hotline: 1.888.3737.888

human trafficking Twitter List to follow

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

 

#TalkJustice Immigration

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Immigration

In the United States immigration is a polarizing issue. My family has lived very close to it through Kris’ work with the Office of Social Justice. No matter where your opinion lies, understanding and looking at the big picture of global immigration is eye-opening.

Start by talking through your own ancestors journey to the United States, Canada or wherever you call home. Most likely, there is a story there. The story probably mirrors the story of immigrants today seeking a better life for their families.

fence

Talk about Jesus’ clear call to welcome the stranger in our midst. You will be pretty amazed at kids ability to grasp this one. I see it everyday play out in our school with a large immigrant population. When Kris brings home pictures from the border or teaching aides, our kids stare at them with surprise. They ask with wonder, “there is really a wall like that?”

That is why we talk justice, to assure them that their childlike hearts are pretty perfect the way they are.

Immigration Discussion Starters:

immigrationCS

Help your family go deeper: 

  • Talk about root causes of immigration-
  • looking for jobs to provide for their families
  • to be re-united with family
  • fleeing violence, gangs, war
  • religious or ethnic persecution
  • Does America use immigrant labor? Do we use low-skilled workers to do jobs not many others choose to do?
  • What might happen to our food sources if their was no farm labor?
  • How do you feel about a wall separating two nations?
  • Some families wait 15-20 years for a green card to see their families. What do you think of this time period?
  • What if you found out as a teenager that you were not a legal citizen, but had lived in the United States most of your life?
  • Some families live in constant fear of separation- how might this effect your family?
  • Would you hope others might change laws that this is not a reality anymore?
  • How can you welcome immigrants in your community?
  • How can you honor culture and traditions that are not your own?
  • How can you reach out to students in your school that are new immigrants?

Kids Books about Immigration: 

Immigration BooksHarvesting Hope by: Kathleen Krull

Brothers in Hope by: Mary Williams

One Green Apple by: Eve Bunting

Waiting for Papa’ by: Renee Colato Lainez

The Colour of Home by: Mary Hoffman

The Name Jar by: Yangsook Choi

Inside Out and Back Again by: Thannha Lai

Migrant by: Maxine Trattier

From North to South by: Rene Colato Lainez

My Diary From Here to There by: Amada Irma Perez

Goodbye 382 Shin Dang Dong by: Frances Park

 

14 Ways to Take Action! 

An immigration Twitter List to follow

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What is your families immigrant story? How has someone from another culture deepened your life? What does welcoming the stranger mean to you?  

#TalkJustice Disabilities

talkjustice

Kids #TalkJustice Disabilities 

With all our #TalkJustice topics exposure and education goes such a long way in our kids growth in empathy, awareness and action. Talking about disabilities helps kids with familiarity, comfort level and response to those they encounter.

Expose your kids to different kinds of disabilities. The following are good examples to begin with…

Physical: Asthma, Blindness, Cerebral Palsy, Deafness, Diabetes, Down’s Syndrome, Epilepsy, Facial Disfigurement, Hearing Impairments, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Tourette’s Syndrome,

Cognitive: ADHD, Aspergers, Autism, Cognitive Impairments, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Learning Disabilities, Speech Impediments,

Emotional: Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Eating Disorders, Self-Harming

Remind your kids that we all face challenging obstacles in our lives. Encourage kids to understand that those with disabilities are not so different than themselves. Kids with disabilities typically do not want to be treated differently. It is usually all right to start a friendly conversation. Most kids don’t mind answering questions from peers about why they have leg braces or hearing aides. If classmates are experiencing difficulties with more unseen disabilities challenge your kids to remember that not every disability is visible.

The beautiful line from the new Cinderella movie was HAVE COURAGE. BE KIND

Wonder challenged us to #ChooseKind. I’ve spend a lot of time in my grown-up life working as a special education paraprofessional. Kids have really big hearts. Sometimes their acts of kindness to their classmates floors me. They are good at disabilities. We just have to make sure they fully understand how important choosing kind is.

wonder_socialmediaimage_2

Kids with disabilities may be at risk for bullying or feeling alone. Help your kids to learn how to always #ChooseKid, as so beautifully express to us in the book Wonder. Invite kids with disabilities to parties, playdates and outings. Kids are amazingly resilient, they don’t want to be seen as not capable. Challenge your kids to see the whole person. The disability is just a small part of who they are, it does not define them. 

Disability Discussion Starters:

disability conversation starters

Help your family go deeper: 

  • Do we all learn the same? Are some subjects harder for others?
  • What is everyone called you the ‘brown haired girl’ is that the only thing that defines you? Do labels describe a whole person?
  • Many people who have disabilities have grown up to be famous artists, writers, athletes and really anything you could dream of.
  • Do you think kids with disabilities might develop some amazing strengths? Courage? Perseverance? Compassion for others?
  • What would be easier or harder about having a visible disability vs. a hidden disability?
  • Do you think all societies treat people with disabilities equally?
  • How could your family support someone with a disability?
  • When you encounter someone with a disability could place yourself in their shoes? How might your reaction change?

 

DisabilitybooksKids Books about Disabilities:

 

18 Ways to Take Action!  

A Disability Twitter List to Follow

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What have kids taught you about disabilities? 

 

Door Four

Door Four(A Guest Post by Brenda Petersen, also known as my Mom. Who has been amazingly brave, peaceful, and full of grace during her treatment for breast cancer. The following is a meditation over her experience thus far.) 

In Holland, Michigan, over on Washington Avenue, the medical buildings have gigantic numbers over their outside doors to identify their departments. As the 2014 Advent season was unfolding, I dutifully went to Door Four, for what was anticipated to be a routine yearly mammogram at the Breast and Bone Health Center. My family’s season of Advent has since blended into the Lenten season, as we navigate the waters of my breast cancer diagnosis.

2002, my husband and I went to spend time with a part of our beloved family in Europe. Together we visited several cathedrals and domes. The artwork depicting the Stations of the Cross leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, were the images that lingered with me. As the rhythm of the liturgical season enters into Lent, the Stations of the Cross came to mind. In an effort to make sense of my present journey, it became clear to me; I was experiencing something akin to Four Stations of Breast Cancer.

In all four stations I am instructed that I will need to BE STILL! That seems to be the overriding directive to me, and there are no exceptions.

  1. MRI: You must put your arms out directly in front of you like you are flying. Once you go into the tunnel there will be loud distracting noises all around you. You may become frightened, if so, tell us and we will talk you through it, otherwise, just fly.

(Directive: Loud world…you can ask for help…but you must fly)

  1. Surgery: On the operating table we need to take your arms and spread them directly out and securely attach them to the sideboards.

(Directive: It’s like the crucifixion you must lay yourself out to gain life)

  1. Chemotherapy: We have picked “your dandelion” and now we must put down weed killer to be sure there are no seeds floating around. We will infuse your body with chemicals via this port directly into your veins. The chemicals will kill off any rouge cancer cells, but at the same time will kill off your good cells as well.

(Directive: Die to everything, and new cells will then reproduce and will be healthy)

  1. Radiation: We will map your chest wall and then proceed to radiate the area; to be sure there are no remaining cancer cells. Your only job is to stand there and hold your arms over your head and no matter what do not lower your arms.

(Directive: Keep your arms raised up to the heavens)

Those are pretty clear directives I hear. Even though this is a turn in my journey I would never have taken on my own, I am beginning to know, it is a path that is going to lead me to a greater understanding of just how magnificent it is to be still and see a little more clearly who God really is. In addition to being still, I am going to be practicing positions of flying, opening my arms wide, and holding my arms up in praise…I am going to need those for eternity!

How are you practicing being still in these present days? I would love to hear your thoughts.

bpBrenda Petersen worked as a Family Advocate with Shelby Public Schools for 22 years. She now resides in Holland, MI with her husband Philip. Four kids call her Grandma B. She shares her faith and experiences in person and with her writing

#TalkJustice: Education Access

talkjustice

Whenever we talk to our kids about justice issues we can be positive, because there are so many ways we can help! Even though the topics can be heavy, we can make a difference, and that’s something to be excited about.

In the United States we have many options for education. Even here, not every opportunity is equal, nor every school district. Globally this is even truer. Many students, especially girls will never have the opportunity to attend school and better their lives. Opening up kids worldview of school is a great place to start. Once they understand that education is a gift that others don’t have so easily, families can begin making a difference beginning in their own schools and expanding locally and globally.

Equal Access to Education Discussion Starters:

#TalkJustice Education Conversation

Help your family go deeper:

  • What factors make acquiring education difficult for kids?
  • Child labor- some kids need to support their family instead of going to school
  • Access- some kids lack transportation or a close school to attend
  • Money- some areas lack resources to have school supplies, teachers, or safe buildings
  • Disabilities- some schools do not have resources to help students with disabilities
  • Gender- poverty forces some families to choose who to educate and they choose boys before girls (so girls can work, do chores, or watch siblings.)
  • Violence- war or conflict keep some kids at home instead of attending school safely
  • Hunger- can make learning difficult for students
  • Immigration- language and cultural assimilation can create challenges to learning
  • Are their schools in our area that have less than others?
  • After thinking about barriers, how do you feel about receiving free education through twelve grade?


education1Kids Books About Equal Education Opportunities

Read more about this selection of kids book here. 

 

 

 

 

 

16 Ways to Take Action!

An Access to Education Twitter List to Follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

What have been your insights into equality and access in education? 

#TalkJustice: Clean Water

talkjustice #TalkJustice: Clean Water  Last week we talked Hunger. Clean water is another great justice topic to start with for kids. They understand thirst. Beyond, thirst we can teach them that unclean water makes people sick. We can talk about water scarcity and how that affects everyone on the planet.

Whenever we talk to our kids about justice issues we can be positive, because there are so many ways we can help! Even though the topics can be heavy, we can make a difference, and that’s something to be excited about. cleanwater conversation starters Help your family go deeper:

  • Do we use more than our share of water?
  • Imagine using unclean water for laundry, showers, drinking, cleaning dishes.
  • What dangers might occur trying to transport clean water to your home? Might it make you vulnerable? Would you have time to attend school?
  • Without water could anything survive?
  • More and more people face water scarcity. How could that affect everyone on the planet?
  • If you had to walk thirty minutes to get clean water, how would you use water differently?

clean water booksKids Books About Clean Water: 

Clean Water for Elirose: by Ariah Fine 

A Long Walk to Water: by Linda Sue Parker

Ryan and Jimmy: by Herb Shoveller

One Well: by Rochelle Strauss

Mimi’s Village: by Katie Smith Milway

19 Ways to Take Action!

A Clean Water Twitter List to Follow.

Follow our About Proximity #TalkJustice Pinterest Board.

Introducing #TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.

I LOVE to hear from you! Did you try any hunger or clean water activities? What conversations came up in your family? 

Next Up: Education

Talk Justice: Hunger

talkjusticeTalk Justice: Hunger

Hunger is something most kids will understand. Everyone can relate the feeling of a hungry tummy from time to time. We can broaden our kids understanding of true hunger by helping them learn about the people around the world that feel those tummy rumbles and don’t have access to a snack or meal like most of us do.

TalkHunger ConversationHelp your family go deeper:

  • If you didn’t have dinner would it be hard to sleep that night?
  • If you didn’t have breakfast would you have trouble concentrating in school?
  • How would you feel if you didn’t have a lunch to bring to school?
  • If you had a week where there wasn’t much food at home, would you begin to feel worried about having enough?

Talk about root causes of hunger:

  • wars
  • disasters
  • climate change
  • famine and floods
  • joblessness
  • rising food costs
  • poverty
  • inequality

Help older children understand common misconceptions about hunger:

  • WIC in the United States helps with supplementing woman, infants and children, school lunch programs, school breakfast programs, and summer lunch programs.
  • SNAP Myths and general information.

Whenever we talk to our kids about justice issues we can be positive, because there are so many ways we can help! Even though the topics can be heavy, we can make a difference, and that’s something to be excited about!

hunger booksKids Books About Hunger 

The Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by: Peter Menzel

Beatrice’s Goat by: Paige McBriar with Heifer International

One Hen by: Katie Smith Milway

The Good Garden by: Katie Smith Milway

 

21 Ways to Take Action!

We have a new Pinterest board called Kids #TalkJustice where I will be pinning many of the resources featured in this series.

Do you twitter? Here is a Hunger List to follow.

I really hope to hear from you all week long! Tell us about your conversations! What resources did you try? What did your kids teach you? 

Next Week… Clean Water and Summer Justice Play Groups.