It's the season to teach your children about caring
(NC) Never has there been a more critical time to raise your children with a caring global conscience.
In an era when headlines remind us daily of international conflicts, most parents recognize the importance of instilling compassion in their kids. Whether it's being kind to others or demonstrating practical concern for those in need, children tend to embrace the values they see modeled at home.
Taking a meal to a sick neighbour, colouring a picture for grandma to hang on her fridge, even caring for the family pet can all cultivate awareness of the needs of others.
But how do we teach our children to care about people who live half a world away, especially during the holidays when parents are busy and the focus is on satisfying our kids' little consumer souls?
It doesn't require worldwide travelling. We can start with conversations to broaden a child's awareness of life beyond their neighbourhood. A trip to the library or bookstore can supply excellent stories to open even young children's eyes to the realities of life in other lands.
And we can encourage children to put their developing empathy into action. For example the World Vision Canada' Gift Catalogue (www.worldvision.ca/gifts) is perfect for helping kids gain a global perspective, even as they help others.
On behalf of your family, or in honour of a loved one, allow children to choose a unique charitable gift—like soccer balls or school supplies for children in the developing world. Or, let them choose a beautiful, handcrafted gift for a teacher or relative, thus providing impoverished women with a sustainable income to build a better life for their children.
Raising globally conscious kids begins with recognizing the need to prepare our children for growing up in a global village. Good parenting will equip them to take their place in that village as caring citizens.
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