To the “adults” who let me believe my voice didn’t need to be heard —
Thank you for showing me that growing older does not mean growing up.
For showing me that you grew older but did not grow up.
For reminding me that stubbornness and bigotry and ignorance
does not get you anywhere in this world,
And for reminding me that, to grow up,
We must listen.
With ears wide open.
To the voices of the people around us
and the whispering dialogue of different perspectives.
And when you’re ready,
when you’ve taken off the mask of age
hiding away the bitterness inside of you,
I’ll be here,
ready to hear what you have to say —
as long as you’re listening, too —
So that we can grow,