A week ago I participated in the school’s Free the children event, “Vow of Silence”. The aim of this event was to raise awareness to the issues of child labor, child soldiers, and access to water and education that are silencing the voices of youth across the globe. I usually participate in this event every year, because of how eye opening and refreshing it is.
This year was a little bit different, as I realized the day of the “Vow of Silence” included various important presentations and meetings in which verbal communication was a crucial part of. Guiltily, I didn’t participate in the vow of silence during my morning class. Throughout the day, I also found myself engrossed in “silent conversations“, which included me passing written notes to friends like I used to do in elementary. Although I was silenced the entire school day, I hadn’t given much deep thought yet to why I was doing what I was doing.
In hindsight, I didn’t do the vow of silence justice, as I didn’t completely experience what it’s really like to not have a voice and continued to write down my thoughts. In actuality I have no idea what it’s like for those forced to do rigorous forced labour and aren’t given a voice, those child soldiers who aren’t to have opinions or thoughts. I feel mad at myself for not utilizing my voice whenever I can. Sometimes in class, I have an opinion to contribute, but I’m too scared to raise my hand. I have the freedom of speech, yet sometimes, I don’t choose to use it.
Upon listening to everyone in the halls and classes during that day, I realized how pointless more than half our conversations are. From this experience I learned the amount of power we have in our freedom of speech and expression. With our words we can lie, we can hurt, but more importantly we can use them in a more meaningful way that can empower others.