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Mandela book coverToday or anytime this week is a perfect opportunity to help instill a passion for justice in your child by talking about Nelson Mandela’s life and impact.

1. If you watch the news on TV, call them over to watch the coverage of today’s memorial service in Soweto, South Africa. Or show them an online news video of highlights from today’s service.

Or watch this 4-minute tribute poem by Maya Angelou together.

2. If you’re a turn-up-the-music-and-dance-in-the-living-room kind of family, find a South African song on iTunes, Spotify, or YouTube and celebrate freedom and justice through dance. A few song suggestions: “Lion in a Cage (Nelson Mandela)” by Dolores Keane, “Freedom is Coming,” or “Siyahamba” (We are Marching). Dance is a powerful, embodied way to celebrate and educate. (This morning I danced to “Lion in a Cage” with a small group of women in an African dance class. It was awesome!)

3. Check out a children’s book about Nelson Mandela from your local or school library this week and read it with your child.

4. Share with your child in your own words why you are grateful for Nelson Mandela’s life. You could also share this video of a song tribute to Mandela by the Soweto Gospel Choir in a Woolworths store in Johannesburg. (With English translation.)

5. If you come from a Christian tradition, tell your child that God is passionate about justice–that justice is part of God’s character–and share a verse like Micah 6:8: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Or Isaiah 1:17:

“Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.”

Any day is a good day to seek to instill a heart for justice in your child. But days and weeks like this one are particularly excellent opportunities.