by Jennifer Prestholdt (USA) | Nov 20, 2012 | Education, Human Rights, Motherhood, World Motherhood, World Voice
Sometimes I have trouble finding the words to talk to my kids about the violence that hear about in the news, the injustices that they see in our own community. As a human rights lawyer, it is my job is to document and expose human rights abuses. But I have always struggled with how to communicate to my kids what human rights are and why they should care about them.
Recently, however, I was preparing for a project that involved interviewing children about their experiences. Experts advise that interviewers use simple language when speaking with children about difficult topics. “Simple language” means avoiding big words, of course, but it also means using simple, direct sentences. Straight-forward grammar – subject and predicate in sentences; basic speech parts – nouns and verbs and adjectives. I suddenly realized what I was doing wrong in talking about human rights with my kids. Rather than explaining complicated concepts, what I needed to do was break it down to the core values that everyone needs to live fully in this world. I needed to start with the basic building blocks of language: words. (more…)
Jennifer Prestholdt is a lawyer and the Deputy Director of The Advocates for Human Rights, a volunteer-based human rights organization that works locally, nationally and internationally. Her work in human rights takes her around the world, but she spends most of her time in Minneapolis, MN, where she lives with her children (two sons and one daughter), her husband, an elderly cat and a dwarf hamster.
As Jennifer’s kids are now all in school (1st, 4th and 6th grades), she is finally finding more time to do the things that she used to love to do, especially running, writing and knitting. Jennifer loves to travel and has had the dubious distinction of having been accidentally locked in a bathroom on five continents so far. Australia and Antarctica await!
In January 2011, Jennifer made a New Year’s Resolution to start writing about her experiences in order to share with her children the lessons learned from 15 years of work in human rights. The result is her personal blog, The Human Rights Warrior. The name comes from her son Simon, who was extremely disappointed to learn that his mother is a lawyer, not a warrior.
You can find her on her blog The Human Rights Warrior or on Twitter @Jprestholdt.