Children see the world differently than adults. Instead of their minds being littered with biases and social norms, their minds are flourishing with possibility and inquiry. The lens through which our youth look at the world is a valuable one–one that enriches my life every day, one that gives me a bit more hope for the future.
As a part of our study of values, we have begun discussing our own values–the things we believe to be true about the world and the things we believe to be “right” about the world.
I began with an activity where students were asked to generate belief statements about broad ideas such as love, freedom, and authority, to name a few. After discussing the importance of vulnerability and honesty when sharing our beliefs, the students seemed to pour their hearts onto the paper, openly disagreeing with their peers and challenging others’ ideas candidly and respectfully.
If I’m being honest, there’s a large part of me that thought about the gay marriage conversation I wanted to have. That activity was incredible evidence that they would have rocked it with poise and maturity. Have I mentioned that we don’t give kids enough credit?
This closing activity was meant to pave the way into our lesson that followed–one about communicating your beliefs through your writing–one where you pour every bit of yourself into your writing, making a piece so unique it would be impossible for another individual to write it.
So I asked the kids to write a list: 10 Things I Believe to Be True. No, this wasn’t my idea; I got it from a TED talk from Sarah Kay, prominent slam poet and official bad ass (Shout out to my boo for showing it to me!). They didn’t know it at the time, but they would be watching her TED talk the following day and composing their own slam poetry the following week.
Here’s what they turned in:
Regardless of gender, personality, or any other label we can slap on a child, condoning vulnerability and honesty allows all kids to express themselves naturally. I can’t wait to see what they do with their slam poetry!