5 Ways to Raise a Change Agent

It’s easy to wonder what the future will hold for our children. We see the challenges that face the planet—climate change, deep divisions at home and abroad, extremism, and more—and the temptation can be to play it safe. Sure, we hope those issues get addressed, but our goals for our kids are to be safe, happy, and successful. But the fact is, our children will be the ones who shape the future of the world, for better or for worse. We will raise a change agent. But what kind of change will our children bring? And how can we raise our children to be adults who move us toward a more just, free, and healthy world?

While our children will make their own choices and shape their own futures, there are some things we can do to prepare them well to be change agents. Here are 5 ways to raise agents of positive change in the world.

1. Teach your kids to be self-differentiated.

Differentiation is understanding where you stop and another person begins. It means having a strong sense of self. You can’t be a change agent if you don’t have a clear sense of who you are and what you are and are not responsible for in the world.

2. Help your children take responsibility.

As parents, we often think it’s our job to take care of all the cleaning, cooking, and general upkeep of the home so our kids can do their thing: sports, homework, hang out with friends. But our children need to learn that they share responsibility for the space they inhabit. In order for the home to thrive, it takes everyone. Everyone takes turns helping with dinner, washing dishes, and straightening up when guests are coming. These are shared responsibilities. Sure, not everyone can help every night. But teach your children to take responsibility for the environment in which they live.

3. Foster creativity.

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