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  • Autumn Quiles, LCSW

Your Child's Voice

Today the online world is a-twitter about Greta Thunberg's speech to world leaders at UN Climate Action Summit. She is an environmental activist who considers her autism to be a "super power"... an accurate perception, as autism can give people an extraordinary attention for detail. In years past, people have been moved by the advocacy of the March for Our Lives young people from Parkland- Emma Gonzalez, Naomi Wadler, David Hogg, etc. Regardless of whether or not we agree with the content of their message (I do, by the way), it is incredibly impressive to see young people who are so clear and intent on their goal.

Each of our children have different gifts (sports, academics, the arts), but all of our children have a voice. Encouraging your child's voice- regardless of the subject of their passion- is something every parent wants to do. Whether they share their passion on a field, in a classroom or on a stage, we want them to Be Themselves, Out Loud, Without Apology.

How we do this is very, very simple... we listen. And we ask questions. And we try to understand. And, when they make a very good point, we show our gratitude and try to open our minds to the limitless possibilities.

Bob Dylan sings about this in the song The Times They Are A Changin':

Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don't criticize What you can't understand

And Willy Wonka borrowed a few of these lines from Arthur O'Shaughnessy's poem "Ode" in 1873:

We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams,Wandering by lone sea-breakers, And sitting by desolate streams;—World-losers and world-forsakers,On whom the pale moon gleams:Yet we are the movers and shakers, Of the world for ever, it seems.

Children who use their voices, especially when they use them very loudly (like on a city, state, national or international platform) have Listening Parents who have consciously let their children go, to follow their passion without limits.

Though your child may not be the next Greta Thunberg or David Hogg, I feel we adults could learn an awful lot from a child who uses their voice.

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