Kids can teach us a lot
Nov. 26, 2012
by Jenni Sebora

It’s true. Kids can teach us a lot.

My 8-year-old daughter is working on a special assignment. She read a book about a girl who discovered a problem in her community, but more importantly, devised a solution.

She was playing in a neighborhood playground in which she observed many unsafe conditions. She did not leave it at that. She took action.

She determined who managed the playground, and then came up with a plan. She did her homework. She took pictures, researched safety in the playground, and then came up with solutions.

She didn’t stop there, either. She presented her research and the plan of action to the playground supervisor. He took her advice very seriously and asked her if she would be willing to help implement the plan.

Months later, the girl’s suggested renovations were implemented and completed, which ultimately resulted in a safe area for children to play.

What an accomplishment for this girl. Her hard work did not go unnoticed, either. The community rallied around her efforts. A picture of her at the newly-renovated playground was put in the paper, and a community day was named after her.

Actually, there are numerous stories of children who have taken on a cause for something they believe in – a girl collecting shoes to send to children in Third World countries; and a boy organizing a food drive at the holidays for local families who would not have a holiday meal without help from caring community members.

The next part of my daughter’s project is to identify an area of safety concern in her own community, and then devise a plan of action to help improve this safety concern. She is excited about this endeavor, and is putting her little – no, big, heart into it. That is what children do.

After reading this story and other stories of children’s innovative ideas to make their communities better places, she wholeheartedly remarked, “Children can do a lot, Mom.”

I told her, “They most certainly can.”

Children can do a lot, and teach us a lot about giving and loving with their hearts. They have an uncanny innocence that sparks honesty, faith, ingenuity, and sincerity. We all have a lot to learn from them.

We need to take the time to listen to our children, acknowledge their ideas, and support their efforts. Children need this from us. We need to be their allies. Their efforts toward a mission help create a world where they feel valued, and that is so important for positive growth and development.

My middle daughter, who is now an official “junior higher,” continues to be involved in Future Problem Solving. In fact, her same four-member team continues to work together, but new members from their class have also joined in their mission.

This year, the task ahead is community problem solving. Again, identify a problem, come up with a solution, and put individual minds together to collectively come up with a solution.

The team meets regularly, usually before school begins in the morning. Their project idea was initiated last year, and the process continues. They have presented initial plans to the city council on two occasions already, and are now working on details and fundraising. Their goal is to have their mission completed by this winter.

Kids can do a lot of things. Let’s support them and learn from them.

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