For most of us, growing up has not been easy. We have struggled in one or two areas whether financially, physically or even socially.
From these life lessons, we could be able to nurture our children into individuals that can make a difference in someone’s life. DUMASE ZGAMBO-MAPEMBA writes.
After visiting an orphanage on Christmas day as a family, our eldest daughter’s view of the vulnerable, especially other children, has changed. Sometimes, during family prayers, she prays for the orphans to find food and parents like hers.
I just realised that most of the times, how you shape your children while they are young can really reflect in their personality as they grow. So, I did a little research to find out how best we can nurture our children into individuals that can make a difference.
You are your child’s teacher
Your children follow your example. If you just walk by the homeless and poor people, so will they. You do not have to give them money all the time. Just a greeting and a smile can do.
Children can make a difference
It’s natural to shield children from situations in which they feel helpless. But this can reinforce the idea that children can’t make a difference. In an effort to protect, we unwittingly encourage children to close their eyes and hearts to the suffering of others.
Here are five simple suggestions:
Volunteer with your child
You could volunteer to help iron clothes at a baby/infant home or plant flowers at church, among others.
Identify the needy homes
Brainstorm a list of vulnerable people in your community, like the elderly, homeless, and the blind. Make an action plan to do something to help. For example, ask what they need that you can afford to do or buy for them.
Encourage your child to ask, can I help?
Little things like holding the door open for strangers, smiling at others or helping around the house will garner gratitude.
This helps children appreciate that their behaviour affects others and motivates them to be “good” because of the empathy they feel for others.
Grounding your discipline in reasoning and explanation, rather than power, sends the message that the more powerful must treat the more vulnerable with justice and respect.
On the other hand, gently explaining that your child’s actions made a sibling sad, the way he or she felt sad when he or she hurt her knee last week, will help nurture empathy.
Collect toys and clothing your family no longer uses
With your child, donate them to a local women’s and children’s shelter or another service organisation.