I teach English Language Arts to middle school children, but what I really teach children is how to find their voice. I teach them to not only perfect their voice in their writing, but to exercise their voice when they share with in partners and in whole-group discussions. In between the lines, I teach children how to advocate for themselves and others: how to speak up when they need help, to express their opinions, to right a wrong. I’m a firm believer that a strong voice will serve them well.
In raising our girls, Husband and I taught them to advocate and use their voice from very early on. Our 2-year olds would order at the bakery counter, our 5-year olds would ask store clerks where they could find the crayons, our 12-year olds would seek out help at home and school to solve a problem or get help with a subject. Self-advocacy and standing up for the rights of others has always been at the center of our family. Parenting is full of land-mines, but this is something that we take great pride in: our girls’ know that power of their voice.
Voice is everything.
Exercising the right to vote is using one’s voice at the ballot box, which is why this morning I am so grateful that in cities, counties, and states across the United States, people came out in droves to vote. Did you hear that? People found their polling places, in some cases braved inclement weather, and spent some time at the ballot box making their voices heard. As an American citizen, I cannot tell you how that makes my heart swell. And given the results, I’m even a little giddy.
People voiced their concerns, hopes, and dreams. They used the most powerful tool available to a US Citizens to reject small-minded politics of hate and exclusion in exchange for something bigger and more hopeful.
Even as I wait for daybreak, I see light starting to creep in around the edges of a darkness that’s been crippling this country. I see people rising up, using their voice, and demanding change. This morning, I am filled with hope again — and for that, I am very grateful indeed.