Any given week, one of my five Millennial children is out volunteering for community-based groups, or marching in the streets for social justice. Although I like to think that I had some influence on their propensity to serve and advocate, they deny this. Instead, they tell me, they are driven by motives and experiences that are entirely their own.
Even so, they were all in grade school when I took them to their first rally: the Million Mom March on Washington to protest gun violence. They were in middle school when I joined a candlelight vigil to protest the war in Iraq, and in high school when I canvassed for Kerry and Obama. Their father, my former husband, played his part, too, having them volunteer at organizations that serve the homeless in our community, and other groups that help vulnerable people thrive.
It could be, I guess, that children take less notice of us than parents believe (or take notice, for years, of our shortcomings). I have no doubt, though, that my parents influenced me to try to change the world for the better. (more…)