On June 1, 1996, the largest demonstration for children in U.S. history took place in Washington, D.C. More than 300,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the first ever Stand for Children Day.

Since that time, many people around the United States recognize June 1 as Stand for Children Day and plan special events to promote children’s issues.

Those who attended the first Stand for Children Day sent a clear message about the importance of improving the lives of American children through better education. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks challenged citizens by saying, “If I can sit down for justice, you can stand up for children.”

Wonder what she meant? In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus. At that time, racial segregation laws required African-Americans to give up their seats for white passengers.

When she stayed sitting, Rosa actually took a stand against racial segregation. Her action sparked the Montgomery Bus boycott and became an important symbol of the civil rights movement.

But what exactly does it mean to stand for something? Rather than the opposite of sitting, it means to hold firmly to a particular opinion or belief. To stand for something means you give it your wholehearted support.

Certain words have feelings associated with them. Sitting is seen as a passive action. Some consider sitting the opposite of doing something.

Standing, on the other hand, is active. When you stand, you take action. That’s why standing is associated with believing in and supporting a cause.

For example, many fans at a baseball game will sit in their seats to enjoy the game. If someone hits a home run, though, you can be sure that most people will stand and cheer.

Likewise, when musicians give spectacular performances, they are often given a standing ovation. This means the audience stands up while applauding. Thus, rising to your feet symbolizes particular appreciation or support for something.

If you support better public education opportunities for children, then you can stand for children. But there are also thousands of other important causes around the world looking for supporters.

A cause is a charitable movement that seeks to encourage support for a particular issue. The various causes you will come across in your life reflect the many interests of people all over the world.

Support can take many forms. Some people donate their money. Other people volunteer their time and talents to projects to raise awareness of issues that are important to them.

Of course, you can also support a cause with your actions. As the world learned from Rosa Parks, sometimes actions speak louder than words!

Many causes relate to health problems that need cures or additional research. Other causes may be social, such as equal justice for a particular group of people, or environmental, such as recycling to conserve precious natural resources.

Whatever you are passionate about, there’s sure to be a cause that you can support. You never know when your actions to stand for something that’s important to you will make the world a better place!

 

Wonder What's Next?

You won’t need special glasses for tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day, but you may feel like it’s coming right at you!