I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

Elie Wiesel

This quote doesn’t just apply to the big things like standing up for families being separated at borders or calling out entrenched theories of racism or homophobia or xenophobia when they are staring you square in the face - we all feel called to act then - this quote applies to the little things too: those times when our tiny most vulnerable members of society are squashed down; their emotional well being ignored and dismissed.

To stand up for children in the face of adult linguistic eloquence and manipulation, when you run the risk of offending another adult is not tactless confrontation but a recognition of powerful truth and justice!

These situations are common, right now, everyday, whenever you see children in your daily life; when they’re being shamed, humiliated, belittled or fear mongered by other adults simply for being young, unable to cope with tiredness or hunger, have limited impulse control, and be learning and erroneous: you *can* call people out!

You can empathise with an adult’s frustration and irritation while standing your ground, point out a child’s vulnerability and the corresponding poor judging adult’s response in simple ways that can help both parties get back on track:

‘Whew! It’s so hard shopping at dinner-time isn’t it?! My children are usually so tired and irritable and hungry too, it’s so hard for them!’

Or directly:

‘I know! It’s so late and I bet you’re hungry, I know I am, I can’t wait to get out of here, it’s a tough place to be at dinner time after a long day!’

Recognising a parent or caregiver’s struggle, offering support but ultimately how much harder it is right now for the child gives both recognition and a voice. This gives children the benefit of the doubt rather than advocating punitive punishment - your silence is your compliance.

Let children know that you see them, that they count, that they have value and that you care about how they feel.

Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten