Create your own family traditions and teach your kids to be humane and considerate by example.
By Meera Gandhi
Being a parent is the most important job in the world. You are shaping an individual and your actions and behaviour directly influence your children. We focus on academic education, and sometimes holistic education is put on the backburner, such as learning how to be a good human being and the fact that by giving to people that have lesser than us, we receive a joy that is singular in its effect.
Here are a few ways to infuse into your child the importance of giving:
Develop your own giving regime
“Do ordinary things with extraordinary love.” -Mother Teresa
It is extremely important to have certain family traditions. As a parent, we must encourage our children to develop a regime of serving to the society, even in the simplest of ways. From becoming a team while completing the daily chores to teaching the children of domestic helps and from cleaning your own backyard every weekend to ensuring not to spill garbage in one’s surroundings, these activities act as the building blocks in their broader and deep understanding of giving and doing their bit in life. Helping children do ordinary things with extraordinary love by creating their own family traditions, every parent can raise humane and considerate kids.
Expose them to a less privileged world
“The problem with our world is that we draw the circle of family too small.” -Mother Teresa
Being a parent, it is vital to make our children understand the larger meaning of family. Family does not need to limit itself to blood, but can extend to mean all those that need us, and support us in return. While providing our children with all the luxuries that the world has to offer, it also becomes our duty to help them seek opportunities of understanding the lives of the deprived and the underprivileged, in order to raise them into kinder beings. Embolden your children to volunteer and voyage on the journey of walking a mile in the shoes of those that may have less resources than them.
Practice what you preach
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” -Mother Teresa
Many of us find it easy to command, but not to follow, and at times we don’t follow our own command! For example, if there is a rule at home where dinner has to be had on the dining table, and you don’t follow it, immediately the children find a loophole to not follow the rules. The child thinks, if the parent doesn’t do it, it is okay for me to not follow the rule as well! The child might lose faith in what you told them. So if you tell your child to volunteer to help people, you must go with them, so they can feel secure and safe in their actions.
Instill the feeling of “letting go”
“Do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa
I think this is one of those things that parents of the contemporary world need to understand the most. Pressurising children during their growing years ends up making them into stubborn beings. We, as parents, need to provide them with the space of choosing their own careers, and making their own choices. This way, they will learn to respect others’ choices in future and inculcate an understanding and empathetic nature.
(The writer is founder of the Giving Back Foundation and a philanthropist.)
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