The other day, I discovered Staceyann Chin, a spoken-word poet and political activist. I was immediately drawn by her fearlessness, her strength and the way that she communicates her beliefs.
She speaks beautifully.
On her Youtube channel, Staceyann posts “living room protests”: short conversations with her daughter, Zuri. The themes are usually political but sometimes the subjects of the conversations are random.
One of the things that I like about the videos is the way that Staceyann makes space for her daughter to express herself. Zuri is given time to find her words and formulate her own opinions. It made me reflect on the importance of starting conversations with kids and, of course, listening to them.
Listening to kids
I know the topic of this post might seem trivial or obvious. But, I have found that this normal exchange between adult and kid doesn’t always happen. A lot of grown ups often treat kids as “kids” in the sense that they don’t take children seriously. They either always correct and interrupt them or won’t start meaningful conversations with them at all.
I honestly don’t understand why. Personally, I have had several interesting conversations with kids. And, as a matter of fact, children’s perspective on things often open up new ways of thinking for me.
Also, remembering myself as a kid, I can’t say that my thinking process has changed a lot throughout the years. I’m still the same ‘me’ and I can relate to thoughts that I had when I was a child. Yes, I’ve had more experiences since my 6th birthday. I also hope that I know more now than I did then. But, would a conversation with me be more interesting today than 14 years ago? Maybe. Although, maybe not.
I think listening to kids is important because it teaches them to think critically and independently. They learn how to both listen to themselves and express themselves.
Another reason why I think open dialogue is crucial within a child’s upbringing is because I don’t believe critical thinking is taught well in most schools. Kids are often taught how to learn things by heart. But, they usually aren’t taught how to express themselves or how to be creative and think for themselves.
Here’s one living room protest: