Child Advocacy

How To Inspire Kids To Change the World

child looking at butterflies surrounding him

Who are the people that truly change the world?

For me it is the people who dare to think bigger, bolder, beyond and definitively different. The text in the famous Apple ad actually puts it rather well…

 “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

― Rob Siltanen

So how can we, as adults, inspire and encourage the uniqueness and difference in the kids that may change the world?

Let me use my nephew as an example. He is 8 years old, absolutely brilliant, incredibly funny and what many would call…slightly crazy.

From his very early years, he has been exploring the world with an unsatisfiable appetite. He put matches in the toaster to see if it will explode, he drilled a little hole in his stomach when he was checking if the drill could be used as a massage stick and one day he decided to hitch-hike all the way home from school since his legs got very tired of biking.

I absolutely adore this child, and he continues to amaze me. In addition to his explorative nature, he is kind and caring and an incredibly smart kid. It is a joy to try to keep up with his ideas and I must admit, I am often many, many steps behind him.

My nephew is a dragon child. I know he will change the world – somehow.

And whenever I meet a dragon child, I try to empower her or him to:

#1 Trust their knowing

Kids know. They are like big radio receivers, picking up everything around them, the spoken and unspoken. And their perception is not yet filtered by all the projections, expectations, separations and judgements that most adults see the world. That means that they are often more right on than we are…

One of the greatest gifts you can give kids (and yourself) is ask them questions and trust their point of view and suggestions for what is going on, and what is required.

#2 Keep coloring outside the lines

We often try to show kids the right way of doing things – for example how to carefully color inside the lines in a coloring book. But really, that is just the way it has been done up till that moment! What if we instead get excited by all the different ways a task could be accomplished?

What if the wackiest ways of coloring, is the very beginning of a whole new way of painting, never before seen on this Earth?

#3 Stay weird

It can get very lonely being different. Sometimes it may seem easier to just shut that unique part off and fit in with everyone else. The choice to stay weird is a brave one. It takes immense courage. It can help to hear that now and then – to know that someone has your back.

This world of ours is not yet the best of all possible worlds. Our children have the capacity to change it into something greater. Our job is to inspire them to know that they can!

(All photos courtesy of guest blogger)


Headshot of guest blogger, Katarina WallentinKatarina Wallentin is an avid explorer of the magic that is truly possible on this beautiful planet of ours. For over 10 years, she worked with communication and leadership in international organizations such as United Nations, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children — continuously seeking for something greater and different for and in the world. Now an Access Consciousness facilitator, she has written two books for empowering children: The Baby Unicorn Manifesto and Clara & The Climate Changer. Coming soon: The Baby Dragon Manifesto!

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at


This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competency: I. Commitment to Client Group.


  1. Mary Dravis-Parrish

    Thank you Katarina, we lose too many kids who aren’t encouraged to be their wildly, weird and unique self. We can all do more to encourage each other.

  2. Deepa Ghiya

    Lovely article! Really EMPOWERING.
    Looking forward for more & more…
    Hdigabtt? Weip?

  3. Susan Hayes

    You expressed so well what I believe! Loved this commentary! Love kids!!! Thank you for the gift of your words!

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