Raising Children With
Roots, Rights & Responsibilities
Human Rights Action Step Journal
for all adult participants
* Dream about your vision for yourself and your children.
* Decide on one thing you can do to move toward your dream.
* Make a list of the barriers you have to overcome in realizing your dream.
* Remind yourself about what helps motivate you to keep striving toward your vision.
* Tell your child(ren) your personal life stories. Think of a time when you stood up for your own rights. Describe the difficulties of taking that action to your child. Think of a time when another person stood up for you or your dream; tell your child(ren) the impact of that action.
* Read a book to younger children about parents taking care of their children, and assure your child that parents always want to do their best to guide and protect their children. Remind your child that there are other people in the community that help make sure children are taken care of and kept safe. With your child make a list of those community people. Some possible books: Momma Do You Love Me? and Dreamcatcher.
* Read a book to school-age children about slavery in the United States, and discuss the differences between the rights of the children of slaves and the rights children have in a free society. A possible book title: Follow the Drinking Gourd.
* Congratulate your neighborhood service providers on the good job they are doing for you and your family (child care provider, mail carrier, milk delivery person, fire fighter, grocer, librarian, neighborhood safety house, neighborhood block leaders, etc.)
* Create a note card with your child's art, and use for a thank-you card to your neighbors.
* Find out who your local government representatives are (council person, mayor, senator, or representative, etc.) and post their names and positions on your refrigerator.
* Find out if or how these public servants are representing you on issues of importance to you (schools, child care, housing, taxes, etc.).
* Call, write, or visit your local representative and tell him or her whether you think your political concerns are being well represented.
* Let your child know about your political concerns and the actions you are taking to address them.
* Make a family Human Rights Agreement. Hold a Family Peace Circle (see Handout #2b from Session 2). Go around the circle, each person saying one right they'd like to have in the family (how they'd like to be treated). List everyone's contributions. People will have rights specific to themselves. Everyone has to be able to agree to anyone's right, but often these rights will correspond to a responsibility. For example, the "right to have time to myself" might go with the responsibility "to be present and not to withdraw when someone in the family has an important emotional or physical need." When you think you're done, read each idea aloud and ask if anyone disagrees with it. If anyone disagrees, it gets crossed out or modified. Take time to refine ideas through modifying and brainstorming. Make a final list of the rights and responsibilities the entire family agrees to honor. Have a signing ceremony.
* Display and reflect on the daisy you have made.
* Ask your child which part of their being is affected when they watch TV? Read a book? When they play with a friend? Ride their bike? Play in the sand? Create a sidewalk drawing?
* Think of the members of your family. Is there something you can do to provide water or sunshine for them this week, that is, how can you nurture them like we must nurture our daisies?
* Talk to your partner about how you help each other attain your personal goals and how you work together to raise your child as a whole person.
* Take your child to an art museum, play, science museum, or other cultural event in your community.
* Decide when and how you will become involved in your community.
* Visit a school a near you and find out if they are giving children a well-rounded education according to the nine aspects of human experience.
* Contact the school board members to thank them or inquire about issues you have.
* Volunteer at a school. Join the parent advisory organization.
* Read great speeches from the leaders of today or yesteryear.
* Use your talents to volunteer at home or abroad.
* Attend a major festivity in your own culture or religion with your child. Talk about meaning of cultural/religious objects with your child. How did this object become a symbol in your particular faith or culture? How was this festivity important to those people who have lived before our time? How do we want to incorporate our own faith and culture into our everyday life?
* Tell about how we are all unique, special, and precious in our own way, within our own family. How are we different? How do we try to bring out and accept what is different and special in each of us?
* Read a story that celebrates someone's personal or cultural difference with your child.
* When you go shopping at the grocery store or local shopping mall, notice the wonderful differences in people around you (e.g., teenagers, senior citizens, babies, all different colors of skin, different hairstyles and colors of hair, quick moving people, slower moving people, all different sizes of people, different genders, some wearing glasses, some not wearing glasses, some using a wheelchair, etc.).
* Discuss with your child the joy of our being so completely different. People are different both within and outside our own family. Celebrate our differences.
* Eat in a restaurant with your child that is reflective of a country or culture very different than you own culture. Discuss with your child all that you noticed at that particular restaurant.
* What sticks in your memory after the experience?
* What food item would you like to try to prepare at home?
* What cultural objects did you notice in the restaurant?
* What are the meanings of the objects you noticed? Show your child on a map where the country is located. Find out more about that particular culture with your child.
* Visit someone who resides in a local nursing home or senior citizen residence with your child. Bring flowers, a poem, greeting card, or sing a song together. Talk about what you enjoy in this person. Ask him or her to remember a favorite experience and share a story from your own life.
* Help someone that is physically limited in your neighborhood get some household projects done or invite them to share some time with your family.
* Attend with your child a religious or cultural ceremony that is different than your own. If possible, try to attend a major feast such as Passover Seder, Cinco de Mayo, Wedding, Easter, Baptism, Bar Mitzvah, Kwanza Celebration, Ramadon, Hmong New Year, June-teenth Celebration, Pow-Wow, etc. Find out the meaning of the ceremony and why it is important to the people who celebrate it.
* Volunteer to deliver meals to people in their homes. Locate a local organization such as "Meals on Wheels" and offer to provide transportation or volunteer your time at a local hospital, food shelf, or homeless shelter.
* Show your child where they live on a globe. Ask your child to name other countries they know about. Find them on the globe.
* Participate in a global organization such as American Field Service (AFS) or Youth for Understanding which pair individual families with students from other countries for short or long-term visits in your home.
* Become involved in worldwide organizations such as Amnesty International, United Nations Association, or OXFAM, in an effort to improve human rights inequities for people around the world.
* Visit various communities that showcase their culture (Indian Reservations, Amana Colonies in Iowa) or travel to a small town or section of a big city that is reflective of a particular cultural origin (Little Italy or Chinatown in New York City).
* Sponsor a child or a family through an international child-welfare agency.
* Discuss different worldwide conflicts that are on-going between various peoples. Describe to your child how these conflicts originated. What are some conflicts in our own lives? Share ideas with your child about ways you can prevent similar conflicts in our day-to-day experiences.
* Join a pen pal organization uniting children across the globe.
* Involve your child in a dance group or other cultural activity that reflects a facet of your family's country of origin.
* Become politically involved in doing whatever you can to ensure an equitable world for all people. Read the newspaper to stay informed on national and global issues and human rights. Find ways to become involved.
* Have a neighbor or friend take a snapshot of your family. Help your child decorate a frame for the photo and post it on the family bulletin board or refrigerator.
* Sing a song with your children (e.g., "America, The Beautiful," "The Star Spangled Banner," and tell your child the story of these songs).
* Teach your child the "Pledge of Allegiance."
* Tell your child your name story. Tell the story of how you named your child and explain why you chose that name.
* Make a family scrapbook.
* Make an I Am Special scrapbook for each of your children. Print their name in bold letters on the cover.
* Read your child's baby book to him or her and tell his or her birth story. You can begin your story: "On the day you were born. . . ."
* Consider this week how you will help your child to feel proud of their country.
* Find a map of the world or globe and help your child find America.
* Make a book about your ancestry. Have grandparents and extended family write or tell something they know or remember.
* Visit, in person or in a library book, the places that have special significance for your family.
* Teach your children to address other people respectfully and appropriately.
* Visit your state capitol building, local monuments, or historical markers with your child.
* Find out about your own neighborhood (town or city) history.
* Visit your state or local historical society. Tell your child some special or significant events that shaped your neighborhood or town in earlier times.
* Visit a local cemetery with your child, and look for names and dates from eighty-plus years ago. Discuss the importance of people who lived before us and how they helped shape what we experience today.
* Write a letter with your child or as a family to the President of the United States or a legislator and tell them what you value about the United States of America.
* Have a party or celebration on July 4th. Explain why this holiday is celebrated. Borrow a library book about Independence Day and read it to your child.
* Make a large "Old Glory" out of fabric or paper with your child. Color it red, white and blue together. Hang it up for the month of July. Teach your child about what our flag represents.
* Remember other national holidays (e.g., Veterans' Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, President's Day, Martin Luther King Day). Describe their meaning to your children.
* Remember the women and men who helped to build the United States. Borrow a library book about their contribution. (Consider people of races, cultures, and parts of the country different from your own.) Discuss with your child what makes a hero.
* Hold our elected leaders accountable for their responsibilities to safeguard the future of America's children.
* Work for ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Contract With the Children of the United States of America
(Adapted from: Contract with America's Children)
THESE ARE THE PROMISES WE MAKE TO AMERICA'S CHILDREN:
* Read books that have individuals with disabilities as main characters (see book list in this session). Ask your child to try to identify with the special circumstances of the characters in the story: imagine you would not be able to use your eyes or use your ears or legs.
* Explain the "No Parking" and "Handicapped Parking Only" signs to your child. Ask your child why those parking spaces might be located close to the entrances to buildings. Explain the reasons why public buildings are equipped with ramps and elevators, and why public meetings or events often hire a person to sign the speech or lecture.
* Visit a local occupational therapy center or hospital department that provided training in adaptive equipment. Ask the staff to show and tell you why and how it is used. Or ask a occupational therapist or a physical therapist visit you.
* Children and parents trace their hands and write on the outline an act of kindness or justice that they do during the week. Then cut out and place the hands on the refrigerator or a bulletin board. You can add additional acts each week until all the fingers and the palm are full! This encourages children to perform these acts.
* If you (as a group) found any problems for the physically disabled in your building, what will you do to advocate for those who need things? Write a letter? Make a phone call? Petition the building management, the city clerk? Contact an advocacy group? Do one.
* Take a walk around the neighborhood with your child. What can you notice about accessibility or convenience to people with physical limitations?
* Find out which organizations in your community provide refugee services or services for families in need. What services are available? How do families new in the community access those services? How are the children in these circumstances affected?
* Advocate for improved regulations and governance of these issues. Become politically involved in doing whatever you can to ensure an equitable world for all people. Read the newspaper to stay informed on national issues regarding children in special circumstances.
* Listen to and talk with your children.
* Immunize your children.
* Use the Convention on the Rights of the Child to support and encourage your own inner convictions about raising your children.
* Visit a nearby McGruff Safe House. You may want to find out how to become one. Look for the McGruff Safe House Program under your Community Crime Watch / Prevention unit, or call your neighborhood police station for more information on this nationwide program.
2. Neighborhood or community Actions:
* Start a community crime watch or join an existing one.
* Share the Convention on the Rights of the Child document with a neighbor or friend
* Join the State Association for Human Rights.
* Join UNICEF or another international human rights organization.
* Consider this week how you will help your child feel positively toward learning.
* Sing the songs you learned at school this week.
* Help your child feel good about his or her growth in language, memory, problem-solving ability, physical skills, and self-help skills.
* Celebrate your child's growth and accomplishments in some way.
* Tell your child a story about your first day at school, your favorite teacher, or your greatest accomplishment.
* Go visit a school in your neighborhood. See what the students do in school. Talk about what the kids are learning at school.
* Play with your child. Pretend together. Have a tea party or an indoor picnic.
* Sing up to coach a sports team at a neighborhood park or recreational organization.
* Work with Big Brothers or Big Sisters organizations.
* Legislative advocacy for education
* Consider this week how you will enhance your child's development through your guidance in play.
* This week, try out at least two new ideas that will encourage growth for your parenting or development in your child.
* Discuss with other adults who are involved with your child (e.g., grandparents, child care providers, etc.) a particular positive aspect of how your child learns through play.
* Make a "play date" just for you and your child.
* Join or start a neighborhood team (e.g., baseball, soccer, chess, Yahtzee, dance, gymnastics, volleyball, etc.).
* Obtain bubbles or side-walk chalk and use them in your front yard or sidewalk.
* Brainstorm ideas for this area.