Shah, on Voice. Sling Diaries, Vol VII.
The Sling Diaries, Volume VII. A photo-documentary chronicling the art of baby wearing in the lives of families around the world. Over the course of six months, Sling Diarists will create their own Sling Diary though a series of diary entries interpreting a unique theme given to them each month.
Meet all of our Sling Diarists here.
“YOUR VOICE MATTERS!” I will always teach this message to my children. ALWAYS! I tell them “when someone has wronged you or wronged others...YOUR VOICE MATTERS!”. “When you see others in need who don’t speak up for themselves...YOUR VOICE MATTERS!”
The common order from parent to child is that we, the parent is always right. In my family growing up, children were taught not to talk back to adults. "The adult is always right, just listen!" I carried this same thought or way of parenting with my own children, until recently. As my children are maturing, I notice how articulate they are in the way they speak. So, when we’re faced with struggles or disagreements at home I give them room to use their voice to express their feelings in a respectful manner. I in return, really listen to their perspective. While helping them understand more, we discuss the solution and proper behavior. This way, I’m showing them I have respect not only for their feelings, but I also respect their voice.
If we encourage and welcome our children to speak up, starting at home, they will become confident speakers and cultivate their voice for greater good! My daughter Saniyah is the oldest of my 4 children, she’s 9 years old and in the third grade. She is the kind of child that will stand up for another kid who may not be brave enough to stand up for themselves. Like most schools, unfortunately, she’s witnessed her share of bullying and what I admire about her most, is that she’s such a lover. She genuinely doesn’t understand why other children are mean, but she’s also brave and doesn’t back down, nor will she silently sit on the sidelines and witness other children being bullied. She’s shared quite a few occasions with me where she defended a student who was being picked on by another student! By standing with that student, she caused the bully to back down.
I encourage her to always report bullying to a teacher and not to deal with it herself. But, she’s very clear about actively helping the person in need, in that moment and then she tells the teacher. The school she attends has a very strong mission and sense of community that they strive to instill into the children. They even have a morning welcome circle where all the classes chant together “Respect, Love, and Protect” “Respect, Love and Protect” it’s so cool to see all the children say it collectively. The children are then held responsible to keep that in mind throughout their day.
I’m so proud of my daughter, she’s always had a girl power/ activist spirit at such a young age! One of our current favorite books to read is “Malala’s Magic Pen” the story of a young girl in Pakistan who used her voice to create change in her country. Such an empowering story confirming the message to my children...YOUR VOICE MATTERS!
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