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All children want and need emotional connection. We all must take steps to ensure that our children are emotionally healthy. This is the best investment we as a society can make in our collective future. Developing emotional well-being calls for partnerships between families and schools as both are environments of mutual influence between adult and child.
Children who experience themselves as socially valuable throughout their childhood feel trust and have the greatest likelihood of transitioning to a socially just world. A society whose members feel valued will trust and act justly.
During each age of childhood connection, understanding and appreciation of life deepens when children are valued for what they bring:
Together, these ages and stages of development establish the foundation of the child's sense of belongingness and interpersonal relationship, so necessary for healthy social membership.
When these natural capacities are developed at home and in school, it is not whether a person participates in social justice, but how. One teacher wrote,
Students frequently work together at their table to complete a team task, such as a cooperative paragraph or an art project. I usually model some ways children might solve issues of fairness, should they arise (and they always do). For example, let every person's voice be heard, and then vote to make a decision.
Participation in which all of our contributions have been recognized, valued, and engaged can become a societal norm. That appreciation of social justice becomes an initial condition for cooperative problem-solving. Democracy depends on the moral quality of its people. It is in family and school relationships that the values and morals of the individual develops and matures. When children are valued at each age of development for their social contribution, then each child will have their own unique expression of social justice.
©2012 Josette Luvmour, PhD. All rights reserved.
Posted on June 6, 2012 by Josette Luvmour Ph.D.
Josette Luvmour, PhD is a developmentalist, consultant, educator who specializes in child development, adult development, and sustainable family relationships. She serves in the non-profit sector as Director of Family and Professional Development at Summa Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides Natural Learning Relationships™ programs to students, families, and professionals. In addition to her 26-year consulting practice at Luvmour Consulting, LLC, she is author of five books and numerous journal articles and chapters that focus on building positive relationships with children.
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