How to Cultivate Your Child’s Inner Activist


march for our livesAround the country, teenagers are stepping up and speaking out against gun violence and demanding gun reform after yet another violent school shooting. Regardless of your stance on this issue, it is inspiring to see kids using the only outlet they have -their voice- to make a difference. To quote those students, “we are turning tragedy into an opportunity for change.”

What strikes me most about these students is their drive and compassion. It’s so easy in our stressful, academic-driven culture to lose sight of the “issues” and get lost in the daily grind of studying and grooming that perfect resume. How many times do we tell ourselves we are too busy or don’t have the resources to help out in our community? Maybe next month, or next event, or next year…

We can learn a lot from these students who are stepping outside of the micro-bubble world they live in to speak out and make their voices heard. As we all know, kids cannot vote, but events like this show them they CAN make a difference.

And what a rewarding experience. They get the opportunity to come together with other students, kids they have never met before, to experience something bigger than themselves; to play a part in a movement to create change. Whether or not they are successful (and let’s hope they are!) it’s a life-changing and eye-opening experience they will not forget.

Like many others, I attended the Women’s March last January in San Francisco, and it brought me to tears to see so many women (and men) gathered for such a great cause. It’s virtually indescribable the intensity of emotions that a group of strong, passionate and driven individuals can stir up in one another. My only regret was not bringing my kids so that they could experience that sensation, too. To feel a part of something big, to get swept up in the feeling that you are making a difference, to feel truly moved and humbled.

I’ve been stirred by these teenagers in Florida and across the country to invoke that passion in my own children, too. To encourage them to think of people in need, or to find a problem that they want to help solve, and empower them to get involved.

My children are still fairly young, but it’s never too soon to inspire their inner activist. If we show them there’s a way, they will provide the will and determination.

Want to empower your child to find his or her cause? To feel motivated and passionate about something they really care about? To find a way to make a change in his or her community, and feel proud for their commitment to help others?

Here are some ways to encourage and cultivate their activist endeavors. These events do not necessarily reflect the personal beliefs of the blog, but are merely examples of ways to get involved.

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Meredith is a transplant to the Bay Area and has fallen in love with the weather, gorgeous scenery, and plethora of local wineries. A wife and mother of two, she works part-time as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. She hails from Texas, where she attended the University of Texas and will always bleed orange. She then moved to Washington DC to attend Georgetown's School of Medicine, where she fell in love with her future husband, a fellow student, and has been happily married for almost a decade. She and her husband lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for several years for their medical training and found it the perfect place to start a family. She relocated to the Bay Area a few years ago and has quickly adapted to West Coast living. Meredith enjoys the balance of part-time working and full-time parenting and loves to write about this ongoing struggle. In her persistent drive to find more "me time", she actively pursues her interests in reading, running, soccer, baking, and wine tasting.


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