Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’

A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small

Friday, September 23rd, 2011


“A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small” – Theodor Seuss Geisel

A recent situation occurred that made me think of the above quote by the well-loved children’s author, Dr. Seuss. We were in a public facility where I felt simply because my children are little, they were treated differently. And by differently, I mean disrespected. It made me feel an array of emotions but mostly I was sad that it is acceptable to treat children this way in our society.

The incidence occurred in a local health food store. My four year old son was picking up vitamin bottles, looking at them, and placing them back on the shelf; very similar to how an adult looks at vitamin labels to decide which ones to buy. In fact I was right beside him doing the same exact thing. An employee approached him and told him to “stop picking up the bottles”. I was very surprised at the employee’s actions. I didn’t understand why I could look at the bottles but not him? He was not being disrespectful. He was not throwing them around. He was not being loud. He was not messing up the display. He was merely mimicking what he sees adults do at the store. However because his hands are small, it was determined by this particular employee that he was doing something inappropriate. Needless to say I felt very upset. However in that moment I did not know what the best solution was? Do I leave the store and take my business to a place that welcomes all ages? Do I confront the worker about the comment? Do I call later and make a complaint to a store manager?

So, what did I do? Sadly, nothing. Which is why I decided to share about this incidence here; maybe together we can find the courage to start advocating for our little ones in these types of situations? I want my children to know that it is acceptable to stand up for themselves, no matter how small the injustice. Because through practice with the small things, develops the ability to handle the bigger things in life. I want my children to know if they are mistreated or witness others being mistreated, it is important to speak out. Modeling is a powerful teaching tool and unfortunately I missed this teaching opportunity.

There is a children’s musician I really enjoy named Raffi. If you don’t know of him, you might want to check him out. While his music is fun, it’s his philosophy that I really admire. He promotes the idea of creating a child-honoring, sustainable world. Doesn’t that just sound magical? I definitely feel inspired by his work. And now that I have had some time to reflect and process the situation that occurred at the health food store, I know in the future I will respond differently. I will advocate on my child (and subsequently your child’s) behalf to perpetuate a culture that holds a deeper reverence for its youngest members.

Have you ever felt your child was treated poorly or unfairly in a public venue? What did you do about it?