March for Our Lives: Applications for parents of toddlers

Our family took a vacation to sunny San Diego last week. We flew back on Saturday the 24th, and I was very disappointed to miss the March for Our Lives in St. Louis. But I want to express solidarity publicly and writing this blog post is one way to do it.

First, I want to commend the youth at the center of the March for Our Lives for centralizing conversations of privilege and using their platform to amplify voices of Black and Brown youth who have been fighting gun violence in different ways in their communities.

Second, I want to point out the questions that are stuck in my head:

What do these activists teach parents of young children? If you are parents of high schoolers, the lessons are clearer (encourage participation in activist movements, show up at rallies with your kids, etc). But as the mother of a toddler, what can I do to support this movement and be active in the fight against gun violence? How can I use my position as a privileged parent to support this movement? Right now, I plan to:

  • Consistently communicate to A that guns can be dangerous (he’s a little young to understand, but it starts to embed this thinking from a young age. It also helps us as parents get used to the type of wording we want to use when we discuss these topics with him.)
  • Do not let him play with toy guns or pretend to shoot people with guns (again, he’s a little young for this, but it will become more relevant soon)
  • Show up at rallies like March for Our Lives and other events
  • Bring him with us to the voting booth when we vote for local, state, and federal officials who support gun control. Tell him that is one of the reasons we are supporting this candidate (again, he’s young, I know. But, it is important to me that A sees us voting in local and state elections and sees us civically engaged).

When I was chatting with my husband the other night about this blog post (heyyy, new year’s resolution #2, I see you!), we both came to the blunt conclusion of ‘fuck guns.’ If I were designing an ideal world, guns would not be in it. But we don’t live in an ideal world and I know many people don’t agree with that statement. We live in a world where diversity of thought is a beautiful thing, and people have diverse thoughts about guns. Whatever your opinion about guns—even if its not as blunt or hard-lined as mine—there are common sense things we can do as parents to both keep our kids safe and teach them how to advocate for a safer world. I’ve outlined the ones above that align with my values. I encourage you to think of ones that align with yours.

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