Yesterday, over at Keeping Her Cool, Colleen talked about hunger in our own communities and how to teach our kids to be sensitive to the less-fortunate when they have everything they could possibly need. Click HERE to read.
Raising compassionate, socially conscious kids in a world of excess is a high calling, but a worthy one. As we so often repeat, the attitudes, perspectives, and behaviors your children will adopt will largely depend on you. What are you modeling? What kinds of conversations do you start with your kids about the issues and tragedies that are taking place outside of your four walls? Your concern, your dialogue, your action, is going to begin to cultivate the same in them. But if you simply write a check to a charity and never make it a family experience, they can’t see that these issues matter to you.
Some thoughts on getting kids involved in the ‘real world’:
- Be Judicious. Touring a non-profit or shelter can help children to internalize the needs of others. But for very sensitive children, this can also be traumatizing. Use wisdom in exposing young ones to the harsh realities of the world. We want them to be aware, but age-appropriateness is a factor to consider.
- Make It Real. Kids don’t tend to connect as strongly to simple donations of money. While many organizations desperately need tangible help in the form of dollars, seek out organizations where you can volunteer and get involved, or that accept donations of goods like food. Heifer International allows you to choose gifts from a catalog that will benefit children and families in developing nations. A cow or goat to a child in a foreign country can be a great family Christmas project. Feed My Starving Children gives kids the opportunity to package food that will be sent to needy families around the world.
- Read And Learn.The following books can help to open up the discussion at home:
- A Kids’ Guide To Hunger And Homelessness: How To Take Action! by Cathryn Berger Kaye
- Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan
- A Shelter in Our Car by Monica Gunning, Elaine Pedlar
- The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern, Marni Becker
How are you helping your children to understand hunger—locally and globally? Share with our readers!