On June 1st, 1996, hundreds of thousands of people rallied in our nation's capital in what was the largest demonstration in support of children in U.S. history. The event, Stand for Children Day, was an effort to challenge the people of this country to improve the lives of children, mainly by increasing educational funding and accessibility.

The reasons for this are readily apparent: it has been estimated that nearly one-fourth of American children fail to finish high school. This translates into roughly one million young people who forsake a good education and as a consequence, decrease their future earning potential while increasing their risk for poor health and incarceration.

Seeing a good public education as an important part of a child's prosperity, Stand for Children Day is a chance for all of us to protect this basic human right and improve our children's chances in the future.

Here are some of the things we can do:

1. Encourage Education

Even though it may not seem like it, our kids actually do listen to us. Send a positive message about finishing school and getting a good education. Teach them that in addition to getting a better job, education opens up countless opportunities for fun and adventure.

2. Be Positive

Try not to send negative messages about school to your kids, even if you harbor them. Your kids will be hear them and will be influenced by their negativity. A positive attitude about school, not to mention good manners and etiquette, begins at home.

3. Make School Cool

This may seem unthinkable, but the reality is, teenagers may think school is not cool, but they're too young to know any better. Promote the idea that learning and being smart is cool, sparking the imagination and opening the door to a world of cool experiences.

4. Identify Their Interests

Find out your child's interests and encourage them to pursue them. Travel to new places, seek out groups of kids with similar interests, and use school as the vehicle to learn more. Kids who see learning as a rewarding experience will get more out of it and will stay in school.

5. Communicate with Your School

Schools are not perfect, making it all the more important for parents to voice their concerns and share their ideas. We might think this is a futile endeavor, but keeping quiet will guarantee that nothing will happen.

6. Support Teachers

Teaching is an important job, but it is getting harder and harder, so it's important to support them and work together with them. The reality is, no situation is perfect, but rather than criticize, offer suggestions and seek out a mutually beneficial solution. And let them know when they're doing a good job.

7. Become Involved

Schools are being pushed to their limits with a limited number or resources, so they need our help. Volunteer for events that your kids are involved in. It doesn't take much time, and when many people chip in, the difference can be huge.

8. Let Your Voice Be Heard

No school is perfect, but often times the situation is beyond their control. Rather than attack teachers or administrators, voice your concerns where the big decisions are being made: at the government level. Talk to your local politicians and let your voice be heard.

9. Remember It's Never Too Late

Teenagers think they know everything but in reality, they have a lot to learn. The decision to drop out of school might lead to regret, but it's never too late to finish school if the situation allows it. As a parent, if you can encourage this or help out, then do so.

10. Don't Force the Issue

Telling a teenager what they have to do often has the opposite effect, so be tactful when offering encouragement. Don't force the issue, and know when to back off and give it time to ruminate in their minds.

If you have questions or concerns, talk to your children. Even if it seems like they are not listening, they are hearing you, and want you to be in their lives. For more information, visit the website for Stand for Children.