Raising Justice-Minded Kids

 Note from Kat : This post is from my friend and monthly contributor Liz Griffin.

raising justice minded kids

The older I get the more thankful I am for my parents. They taught me from an early age about Jesus and were very active in helping me develop my relationship with Him. In addition to that, my parents were very intentional about developing my worldview – especially as it relates to issues of social justice.

Whenever I talk about being a naptime abolitionist, I am always asked about how we can raise our kids to be justice-minded. I am certainly not an expert, but my parents modeled it pretty well for me and I thought I would share a few ideas with you mamas today! Here we go…

1. Discuss the idea of justice in the Bible. If my kids know anything about justice I want them to know that it starts with God. Social justice is such a buzz word these days and kind of a trendy thing. That’s not bad at all, but I want to make sure justice isn’t just about doing good deeds.

It is an active way to show who God is to the world. Memorize scriptures that talk about justice and discuss Bible stories that show us how to treat people and respond to problems. (Hint: pretty much every Bible story fits this description)

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Really cool 10 year old me in Guatemala on a trip with my family. We worked at medical clinics in villages with a team of doctors.

2. Pray for an ambulance. When I was a little girl and we would see an ambulance, police car or fire truck with their lights going my mom would always have us pray. It wasn’t some big fancy prayer, just asking God to keep everyone safe and help anyone who is hurt.

This instilled in me the habit of going immediately to God when there is an emergency. I’ve seen acts of terror, natural disasters, extreme poverty and the heavy reality of human trafficking first-hand. My first response when faced with these problems is to pray and ask for God’s help first. Thanks mom!

3. Sponsor a child. This is an awesome thing to do with your kids. It is a tangible way to teach your kids to be generous and also for them to connect personally with a child they are helping. There are lots of great organizations that offer various sponsorship opportunities. Kat has a link to Compassion in the sidebar so that could be a great place to start!

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Visiting victims of the West explosion in the hospital last spring.

4. Volunteer as a family. Helping out at soup kitchens, packing school supplies for low-income students and visiting elderly are just some great things you can do together. Some of my favorite memories as a kid are when my family served our community together. If you don’t know where to start, talk to your pastor about needs in the community.

5. Model how to interact with others. When a homeless person stops you for help don’t just brush them off. Ask their name and look them in the eye. Show your kids that everyone is important no matter what they look like or how little they have.

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My daughter playing with kids in a low-income neighborhood in south Texas.

6. Read biographies. Go by the library and get some books about people who made a difference in their world. Our family would ready missionary biographies growing up and I loved them. Plenty have been written about famous figures in the area of justice – Martin Luther King, Jr. , Florence Nightingale, or Abraham Lincoln would be great for starters.

7. Talk to them about what justice looks like in their world. One of the biggest misconceptions we have is that to “do justice” we have to become lawyers or move to Africa to build wells. The reality is that we are all called to do justice (Micah 6:8). So talk to your kids about what justice looks like for them. Maybe it is involving a kid who is being left out on the playground or standing up to a bully at school. Show them what they can do right where they are.

8. Take your family to visit another country. Taking your kids to another country is a great way to help them develop a heart for justice and missions. I know that is expensive and may not be possible for everyone to do. However, maybe your family could set a goal of going on a mission trip and start saving for it now.

Mamas, I believe that our kids are going to change the world! It is about just doing little things in the pace of everyday life that we can show them how to love God and love others. 

What things do you do to help raise justice-minded kids? Click here to share your ideas and join the discussion!

20130218-193106.jpg Elizabeth is a church planter, speaker, writer and naptime abolitionist. She    lives in Texas with her husband and two little kids. Her other hobbies include wasting time on social media, trying to remember where she parked her car & browsing Pinterest for DIY projects she will never actually make. You can visit her over at Lark & Bloom or on Twitter @larkandbloom.

Comments

  1. LOVE THIS! We do many of the same things you outlined in your blog post. A few of our stories can be found here: http://mamaof2greatkids.blogspot.ca/p/truly-great-kids.html

  2. Aimee, great to meet you and see what your family is doing. Its inspiring to learn from other moms a bit further down the road!

  3. Beautiful. I wish more people would do as you described.

  4. This is so good, Liz! I know a lot of people who want to reach out in some way, but just don’t know how to do it with young kiddos. Thanks for the ideas!

    • I’m glad you liked it Joyce! I’d love to hear any thoughts or ideas you may have too!

      • We are starting the homeschooling curriculum that is on the compassion.com website to learn about the different countries around the world and how kids’ lives are like over there. We sponsor two girls with the exact same birthdays as our girls, so it has been fun checking out books about the DR and Haiti. Today, we were learning about the presidents, and we discussed different wars that occurred during the time of their presidencies…got into discussion on the Civil War and Civil Rights…just the basics since they are only 4 years old and 6 years old. :p

  5. Liz, these are great ideas that put something that can seem daunting into simple, everyday things. I think consistency is beneficial. Not just doing these things once or twice but making them part of our family structure and mission.

  6. I love your idea about teaching them scriptures about justice in the Bible. We’ll have to incorporate that at our house. You’re right about bringing justice into their world. Sometime it seems even as adults we can get wrapped up in doing justice in the world and forgetting to take it across the street.

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