When I took my daughter in for her 4 year well-check, her pediatrician explained in response to her whining, her moods and rages, that, “This is exactly what she will be like as a teenager. She’ll just have different problems.”
I won’t lie, I shuddered. But, spending a lot of time with toddlers and having the opportunity to speak with a number of truly delightful teenagers, I think they both get a pretty bad reputation. Sure, they may need some (or in my daughter’s case, so much) guidance around emotional regulation, but they can be incredibly generous, empathetic individuals who spend as much time thinking about others as they do thinking about themselves.
One of those teenagers is Ikonkar Kaur Khalsa.
Khalsa is passionate about traveling and about helping others learn to recognize and navigate their own prejudice. And because she’s a student at school with a competency-based learning approach, Lindsay Unified School District (LUSD) in Lindsay, California, she has the flexibility to pursue her passions and meet learning targets at the same time.
So, when Khalsa says she “wants to fight against injustice” and “protect people,” it’s not something she has to wait until she’s older to do. She hopes to be a law enforcement officer – and she’s practicing and teaching critical tolerance now to better prepare herself for her hoped-for future.