A Story About Children’s Voice and Perspective originally shared on www.equippingkids.ca - written by Lindsay Izsak
Today I was told a story that may seem ordinary but when examined deeper, illustrated why listening to children is important in everyday life. It is a simple story about a little girl and her missing hat.
It was a typical summer day, Mom was pushing her 1-1/2 year old daughter in the stroller, taking her to the park and to complete some errands. Upon returning home she noticed her daughter’s cute, pink hat was not at the bottom of the stroller where she had left it. It is important to note that this wasn’t just any hat, but was the hat her daughter had specifically picked out and the only hat her daughter would wear without tossing it to the ground (most of the time).
Hoping it wasn’t lost forever, they went back out to retrace their steps to see if she could find her daughter’s hat. As they walked up and down the sidewalk, her daughter began crying “Haaat! Haaaat!” At first she thought that her daughter was merely calling for her hat because her Mom had been telling her that it was missing. As she continued looking, her daughter insistently cried “Haaat! Haaaat!” Even though Mom didn’t think it would be back where her daughter was looking (Mom had already checked there) she decided to backtrack just in case. When they reached the corner, they found the hat sitting at the top of a pole! Her mom was looking for the hat on the ground, but her daughter—being in the stroller—had a different point of view that allowed her to see what her mom didn’t “if it wasn’t for her, her hat would still be lost.”
Now this may seem like a silly story about a lost hat, but there are many good reminders that can be taken from it:
We must remember to not only listen to what children say but also take the time to understand WHY they are saying it. Why is it important that they are telling this to us?
Listening to children’s thoughts and ideas is not only important to ensure they experience their right to participation, but should be integrated into every day life. When we listen closely we will be able to better support children and youth and learn from them.
Listening and understanding what children are saying allows us to better understand the world from their point-of-view. Children are the only ones who can share a child’s perspective of the world today. If we do not listen to what children are telling us and gain the opportunity to understand things from their perspective it is not just a hat that will lost forever...
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