Who Went to The White House, You Ask?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I did! Yes, I was at the real-deal White House, friends. *deep curtsy*

Well … I was there in the form of a question, but that’s merely a technicality. Just let me great.

Photo credit: WhiteHouse.gov

All right, the truth is, I wasn’t actually standing there in the West Wing, taking in the glory of the extraordinary moment. It was photoblogger and all-around wise woman Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks who had that honor. She was there along with other women who are part of ONE Moms, a “movement of moms” using their collective voice (12,000 strong!) to spread the word, raise awareness and push for global change in the fight against “extreme poverty and preventable disease.” The admirable group was in Washington, DC, to meet with Dr. Jill Biden — yes, that Dr. Jill Biden … uh, the Second Lady of the United States  — as well as Dr. Raj Shah of the USAID.

So what does this have to do with me?

Aside from my deep respect for this grassroots movement (seriously, watch their call-to-action video), here’s where I come in …

Each of the visiting ONE Moms were allowed to ask one question of Dr. Biden. Karen sent out a tweet over the weekend asking folks for question suggestions.

I sent one along:

“In this time of knee-jerk cynicism and fear, what one thing can moms/parents do to instill a greater sense of compassion and tolerance in our kids?  Or more to the point, how can we help raise kids to be critical thinkers, and not just critics?” *

(*Clearly this was sent in two tweets. One hundred and forty characters can only take a girl so far.)

And guess what?  My question was the one Karen posed!

I was already excited for Karen and the ONE Moms, but this just tipped me over the edge. The whole idea of raising compassionate, thoughtful children has been an interest and concern of mine well before I became a mother. Helping these young minds develop so that along with their strong wills, differing opinions and sharp curiosities, there’s space for humanity to coexist is not only nuanced and challenging, but it’s also 100 percent essential. In order for us — all of us — to move forward and thrive, we need to get the children back to center.

You can read Dr. Biden’s full response on Karen’s blog, but her main point is simple: communication is key. Parents need to keep talking to their kids. Yes, that means everyone has to look up from the iWhatevers and actually talk.

Right on, Doctor J! But I’m curious to hear what you think. What are some other things that parents/mothers can do to guide our kids upstream?

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