Across the country, young people standing up for their beliefs are making headlines, sparking national conversations, and in some cases even getting laws changed to reflect what they think is right.
If your girl is involved in these movements or has been vocal about some other issue, you might worry about her being seen as "disruptive" or too "opinionated," but it's important to recognize that it takes courage and character to speak out against the status quo—even if you don't agree with her views.
As civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1957:
…there are some things in our social system to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I suggest that you too ought to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to the viciousness of mob-rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the evils of segregation and the crippling effects of discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions which take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to become adjusted to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating method of physical violence. I call upon you to be maladjusted. The salvation of the world lies in the hands of the maladjusted.
This call to push back against the problems in our society—to say, "this is wrong!" when something doesn't feel right—goes all the way back to the United States Constitution, in which our Founding Fathers wrote about working toward a more perfect union. Believing that we can do better and be better—and taking the action necessary to make those hopes a reality—is one of the most patriotic acts possible.
So how can you support your girl as she stands up for her beliefs? Follow these tips from Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald.
Helping your child become civically engaged and stand up for what she believes in might not always be easy, but it will certainly be worthwhile. As Dr. King said in an address at the University of Chicago, “The institution of the family is decisive in determining not only if a person has the capacity to love another individual, but in the larger social sense whether he is capable of loving his fellow men collectively.” And indeed, raising up a generation of thoughtful, passionate, engaged—and yes, when called for, maladjusted children—is perhaps the most meaningful and important thing we can do for the future of our society.
Why telling kids they're powerless in the face of injustice is not true.
Show her she can do anything she sets her mind to with these easy tips.