The Evolution of Society

Children and youth have been treated as apolitical and passive throughout time. They are viewed as immature, irrational, untamed, incapable, dependent, inexperienced, victims, compliant, under-developed, unacceptable, manipulable, unknowledgeable, compromised, uncultured, and unfinished for what seems like eons. Treated as less-than-human, non-members of society, and as adults-in-the-making, children and youth have experienced generations of indifference andContinue reading “The Evolution of Society”

The Developmental Reasons for Adultism

Over the last few years I have spoke and trained extensively about adultism, which is bias towards adults, and subsequently, discrimination against young people. Here I explain the roots of adultism, and how they relate to changing the world. Note: All of this is based in broad generalizations, and those are inherently discriminatory. All modelsContinue reading “The Developmental Reasons for Adultism”

Letting Our Personal Histories Teach Us

Me beatboxing. Hip hop culture is in my history, as well as my present, and my future. Lately I’ve been diving back into history, and it increasingly strikes me that we have to teach more about this aspect of our lives and our work in community engagement. We owe a lot to history. Whether weContinue reading “Letting Our Personal Histories Teach Us”

History of Youth Action: 1930s to 1970s

As I continue studying the roles of young people throughout society, I find more places where the roots of youth voice, youth action, youth-led organizing, and civic youth engagement were growing a long time ago. After showing how these roots extend all the way into the Victorian Era, today I want to start in the 1930sContinue reading “History of Youth Action: 1930s to 1970s”

History of Youth Action: 1400 to 1880

Through my ongoing study of the roles of young people throughout society, including youth action, youth voice, youth involvement, and youth engagement, I have learned that we have seen children in a charitable light since the Victorian era, when they were first placed on a particular pedestal by the upper class. In this position, childrenContinue reading “History of Youth Action: 1400 to 1880”

Co-Opting the Radical Instinct

In summer 2000, Tom Hayden released the following essay. It’s powerful historical revelation still moves me, and may help you understand further what we’re up against. Even if you don’t see yourself as a radical, read it – it can help anyone in nonprofits, schools, and throughout our communities. – Adam Co-opting the Radical Instinct,Continue reading “Co-Opting the Radical Instinct”

Evolving Roles for Young People in Democracy

I originally wrote this for the spectacular Paul Roc’s local rag, The Journal of Natural Learning. “Education should not be the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a flame.” – William Butler Yates In the early 1800s it was common for non-enslaved Blacks in the United States to take the last name “Freeman” asContinue reading “Evolving Roles for Young People in Democracy”

Waiting, or Working?

I’m flying right now and thinking about my roots in youth engagement. One of those roots grew about 20 years ago when I was a teenager living in Omaha, Nebraska. The year I was 15 I was invited to go to Chicago for an anti-youth violence conference. It was my first conference, my first airplaneContinue reading “Waiting, or Working?”