A leader shares navigating tough talks with children

As events involving shootings, police, and people of color continue to divide the country, but how is it affecting our youth?
Mismiki

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — As events involving shootings, police, and people of color continue to divide the country, but how is it affecting our youth?

A local leader says it’s time we listen and learn how to help children navigate these tough times.

“We’re all trying to get away from what used to be a norm into a new beginning and our children are a key part of that,” said Mismiki Montgomery, youth program director at Malone Community Center.

“So, it’s very delicate how we let them approach these topics.”

Montgomery has been a local voice in fighting for equity and justice in Lincoln.

She has taught elementary education at LPS and worked at UNL.

Now, as a youth director, she says allowing children to form their own opinions and share them opens the door for better conversations at home and in the classroom.

As a parent, Montgomery says give children space to ask the tough questions like, why did this happen? Why did they do this?

Then allow them to ask how you feel and share your opinion after hearing what they have to say.

“It’s harder to allow your children to have their views and create their own opinion without you interjecting your voice as a parent,” said Montgomery. “I’m guilty of that cause I’m a mom. I wanna be like no you don’t think about it that way. But you need to let them talk first.”

When opinions are given first, she says it can make students internalize instead of open up.

“It’s not that it’s not important how you feel as a teacher,” said Montgomery. “It’s just that your view may change how the course of the conversation may go.”

She adds it’s important not to single out children based on race but to include each child in the conversation.

Montgomery says having open conversations is how we continue to help the generation grow in Nebraska and the U.S.

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