Kids Can Change the World

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

Change. Some of us embrace it while others fear it. Change comes easily for some but for others, it’s a slow and painful process. Kids do better with change. More importantly, kids want to and believe they can change the world.

I recently asked a group of kids the following:

  1. If you could DO anything in the world right now, what would it be?
  2. If you could CHANGE anything in the world, what would that be?

Their responses were insightful and heartfelt (and often funny!):

Haley age 7:

  1. Have a sleepover
  2. I would take seizures away from all the kids who have them (Awwww)

Emily age 12 (Haley’s big sister):

  1. Get rid of all sickness (see a theme here)
  2. Change mean people so that there is only kindness

Ava (Zoe’s twin) age 7:

  1. Go out to dinner
  2. I don’t know

Zoe (Ava’s twin) age 7:

  1. Go out to dinner
  2. I don’t know

Connor age 5:

  1. Go to the beach and swim in the ocean with Nannie
  2. I would make it my birthday

Meredith age 12:

  1. Eat because I’m starving!
  2. World hunger and the Taliban

Thomas age 8:

  1. Get rich and spend all the money
  2. I honestly don’t know

David age 10:

  1. Gaining magical powers and buy 10 pounds of Dunkin’ Donuts hash browns
  2. No bad people

Sean age 10:

  1. Go skiing
  2. No one would be homeless anymore

Kyrie age 9:

  1. Go to an imaginary world that I make up in my mind
  2. I would change global warming because it’s making all the glaciers fall down and soon it will endanger the animals that live on them or near them. I would also change the way people treat animals so they don’t get abused anymore… those commercials make me sad!

Kaylee age 6:

  1. Gymnastics
  2. No more bad guys

Alex age 4:

  1. I would have a race with all of my friends
  2. I would change all of the cars in the world so that they were all the color blue! And be able to make force fields and turn myself into metal.

Shannon age 14:

  1. Go on a trip without a destination in mind – just see where I land
  2. Change people who use stereotypes and who have a closed mind and aren’t open to anything different

Erin age 10:

  1. Stop child abuse and animal abuse
  2. Eliminate war

Jake age 10:

  1. I would become a billionaire and give it all to charity
  2. I would take away all the bad drugs so that people don’t get addicted and ruin their lives

Brendan age 13:

  1. Go to bed
  2. For me to be the best in the world at everything

Devin age 8:

  1. Go to Disneyland
  2. Change bad people

Patrick age 5:

  1. Go somewhere I could be surrounded by a million dogs
  2. Change everyone in the world so they could have fun together… With dogs!

Riley age 5:

  1. Go to Disney World
  2. Make bedtime later

Rory age 3 (Riley’s little brother):

  1. Go to Disney World
  2. Make bedtime later

Elisabeth age 9:

  1. I would cast a magic spell for peace, but I know it’s impossible. (Then asked which is impossible? She said “both”)
  2. I would change people who commit crimes

Thorsten age 8:

  1. Playchess
  2. Make it so nobody would die

Sabina age 6:

  1. Coloring
  2. Make all the wounded animals into unwounded animals

Dominic age 9:

  1. Go out and play a game
  2. Be the best person I can be

Mia age 8:

  1. Adopt all the homeless cats
  2. Make smoking against the law

Matty age 12:

  1. Go teach dance classes
  2. Eliminate disabilities for those that suffer them

Parker age 12:

  1. Go to an LSU baseball game
  2. Be a professional baseball player

Ella age 9:

  1. Be at an arcade
  2. That people could fly

Avery age 7:

  1. Ride a horse
  2. Make fairies be everywhere you are

Catherine age 9:

  1. Ride a horse.
  2. Make our family last week’s big Powerball winner instead of the folks in CA

Patrick age 16:

  1. Film a blockbuster, Oscar nominated movie
  2. Bring back a friend who died over the weekend

Kylie age 7:

  1. Go to Arizona and enjoy the sun and visit our cousins
  2. Make my sister not have Celiac disease so she can eat everything again

Graeme age 13:

  1. Play baseball in the MLB
  2. World peace

Griffin age 16:

  1. Cure cancer
  2. To be Spanish

We all have dreams and we all want to change things for the better. But making tangible and widespread change has historically been a daunting task and extremely difficult to accomplish – particularly on a national or global scale. We’ve always had the will, the desire, and the passion for positive change but we’ve never had the tools, the influence, the platform, or the financial backing.

Until now.

Today, we have a number of innovative and powerful tools in our arsenal to help and guide our children in truly changing the world. Two of the most powerful being the Internet itself which has completely revolutionized the global impact of modern reform campaigns and the global reach of social media. Together, they represent opportunity and the what-ifs that were almost unfathomable even just a decade ago.

The questions I asked those kids were purposefully challenging and open-ended because it made them think about what they actually wanted for themselves and what they didn’t want anymore (what did they want to change). At least that was my goal anyway. The more those lines are blurred, the more likely they are to believe in themselves and their own influence to make a positive and purposeful impact on our world. More than any other time in our history, the ability and potential for the next generation to alter the global landscape in terms of poverty and wealth, politics, human rights, climate change, human and animal rights, health, education, arts, science, technology and basic human compassion is unparalleled.

These kids have the passion for change even though many of them are only just beginning to understand that they can have an impact even at such a young age. We have built the tools and the platform for them to realize that change. Organizations and people like Change Heroes and Taylor Conroy are not only inspiring our children (and us!) to dream big and make an impact but, even more importantly, they have also built the tools to be successful and to make their work and their passion for change impactful. They are actually building schools in Africa! How cool is that?

For our children, their time is now. And it’s our time to continue to support and reinforce the fact that they really can, and will, make a world of difference.

Dream. Inspire. Build. Change the world.

Let’s do this.