“If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. “You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” – Marian Wright Edelman

As many kids go back to school in the next few weeks, the challenges they will face, both now and later, have been on my mind. While I have been writing a lot lately about how we can help younger girls see the potential they have to do anything a boy may be inclined to do, I realize there are a lot more immediate things on the minds of most teens.

But as they head back to school and worry about their Facebook likes, getting picked to be on a team, or trying not to stand out in class too much (yes, bullies harass others for being the things they are not), the fundamental problems are still there. So what can we all do to make a difference now?

We can start the discussion. We can recognize the behaviors in ourselves that may lead to the adverse treatment of others. Everyday, we can stop and reflect on something that we do, routinely, without much thought. Does that action contribute to the equal and opportune society we want our kids to experience or is it something we do or say or think just because it’s the way it’s always been done? Then we change, one word, thought or action at a time.

Big picture change is harrowing. Marian Wright Edelman, the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, is right, though. We all have a voice and the kids who look to us need to see us embrace it.

If you don’t like the way [it] is, you change it…just do it one step at a time.

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