In the 80’s as we grew up, there weren’t many opportunities to learn what social justice was all about. Even for those who attended church faithfully, we rarely heard sermons on God’s Justice; unless it was during the ex-communication of errant members who had sinned and were being reminded of how God is just and will punish them for their sins (funny). It is no wonder as I grew up, hearing about Rev.Njoya and Prof. Wangari fighting, I didn’t understand what they were fighting for or why they had to fight so hard. In my small mind, I would pity them for the beatings they received; it all seemed so futile and unnecessary. I wondered why they wouldn’t stop and save themselves. As a grown up, I understand more now. From my children’s pastor corner , I would hate the Now Generation to grow up with the same ignorance. They should have information; be enlightened to stand for Justice in their own way. Here is where we can start teaching children on justice and issues surrounding injustices …
1. Model Justice in your Home.
Children learn from seeing. What you do is weightier than what you say. Model justice at home by how you treat those who work for you, how you treat the environment and how you treat the animals in your care. Children are always watching and learning about justice from you as you interact with all these things even when you think they aren’t watching. Make justice a lifestyle; your children are always watching.
2. Teach about Justice.
Children need to learn about justice. The Bible has many different lessons in this regard. The world also gives us many opportunities for justice lessons that can imprint in the hearts of children. Use every opportunity to draw out these lessons for your children. Take advantage of local public holidays, deaths and birthdays of global and local heroes and freedom fighters to teach children about these people, the work that they do/ have done and the admirable values they embody. As you pass by Freedom Corner or by the Dedan Kimathi Statue or use any of the roads named after our heroes and heroines, make it a teachable moment for the young ones.
3. Stand up to Injustice
This is one of the most difficult things to do. Why? Because many of us shy away from getting involved. We always think, ‘I am safe’ it doesn’t involve me`, and fail to stand up to injustice. We are transferring this ‘safe play’ to our children. There are many instances of injustices happening every day in our communities. Stand for justice, speak up against injustice; fight for those facing injustices. Allow your child to learn from these situations and encourage them to fight injustices in their environment. Let them stand up for a child who is being bullied, let them feed a stray cat, let them clean up the environment. Such little things can have a lifetime of lessons and impact.
4. Encourage Friendships and Interaction
Encourage your children to have interactions with people who are different from them, from different upbringings and broadly from the diversity of society.Teach them that ‘different’ is not bad or wrong. Help them understand why they are different and ask them to think of ways that they can do to make their neighbourhood and communities a better and equal place. Encourage them to ask you questions about wealth, poverty, class and gender and break it down to their level. Give your child an opportunity to see the world as it is and don’t shield them from it.
‘We can’t hide children from the realities of the world, but we can prepare them to face and change the world.’