Thursday, January 15, 2009

Charity begins at home...

...but it should not be limited to the home!

Parents teach their children to be nice to their siblings, to help each other out when need be, so on and so forth. But unfortunately, very often that is where the lesson ends.

We need to take it beyond our homes, and into our neighborhood, our city, our country, and finally our world!

Instead of shielding our children from the injustices happening in the world, we need to make them aware of it, and also teach them that it is their job to change these things. Teach them that they CAN make a difference!

A few things I can think of that parents can do regularly to make their child a responsible citizen...

1) For every three new toys a child gets, he/she needs to pick a good one from their existing pile and donate it to an orphanage. This teaches the child not only to give and share, but also teaches them to not be too greedy and keep asking for more and more and more.

2) Maintain a piggy bank that the child puts at least 1 rupee into everyday, and donate this money to a charity on the child's birthday. If the charity is a local one, encourage the child to go give it personally.

3) Every few years, celebrate their birthday party at an orphanage. If started at an early age, of say 5 years old, I think this will go a long way into building the child's character. It will teach them to treat the less fortunate ones with equality and respect.

4) If the maid servant comes to work at a time when the child is at home, then encourage the maid to bring their kid to work. The kids can then either play or study together like friends. I would recommend studying :-)

5) Teach the child to treat the servants with respect. We HAVE to teach them to respect other people's labor! We HAVE to teach them to treat the servants as "people", not just servants!

I remember reprimanding a 5 yr old ordering her maid to bring her a glass of water. I felt that was not right. The servant's job was to cook and clean, and help the kid with things she could not do. When I asked her why she won't go inside and get it herself, she said, that's what she is for! I then gently explained to her that "Didi is here to help Mamma with her work because she does not have time. If you cannot reach the tap, then you can ask Didi to help you with it, but it is not right to say, "Oye, paani laao!" She is older than you are, and we need to treat elders with respect, right?" She was still a little confused though. She agreed to the bit about respecting the elders, but disagreed about not ordering the maid. I hope she gets it when she grows older!

6) Parents can also lead by example by volunteering at NGO's on a regular basis.

7) Another interesting trend that I have been noticing recently is that of "voluntourism". It is volunteering combined with tourism. You get to see new places, and can also pitch in to help those that need it. Just google for it, and you will see the various options available.

I strongly believe that it is the moral and social responsibility of every human being to help those that are less fortunate. And that this sense of responsibility needs to be imbibed into our children at a very young age. Along with teaching the child to be helpful, we also need to take care that they do not start to feel "superior" to those that they are helping.

That said, I leave it up to the actual parents to decide how they can raise upright citizens! I after all have NO first hand experience with kids :) So I ask the real ones to share stories of how they inspired their children, and also add to my list.


sweetearth said...

even i agree with you, charity must begin at home, and the earlier the better!!.actually we had organised dinner at an Old age home nearby, and axy enjoyed chatting with all the grannies and granpas...and they too were so happy...he is very particular and doesnt part with his toys, he has people associated with them, like, my grandmother's train etc. or Uncle Savio's school, yes we do give away all his old toys, clothes and books to an orphanage every year, but without his knowledge.....maybe till he is old enough to understand

~ ॐ ~ said...

I couldn't agree with you more on this... brilliant thoughts !!!

and very very doable !!

♥ÐÅyÐяєÅмє®♥ said...

I second ur opinion abt this....and I have seen several cases of that....
u kno being rich doesnt make one charitable ..his schooling ...his parents and their training everything decides that....

Renu said...

I couldnt agree more, nice see a young one, so kind at heart.
Even i told the same thing, going one step further...I dont count doing something for your realtives and friends a niceness and kindness.I believe that being nice and generous means that you give to people unrelated to you in every way.
I never had to tell the children anything, in our ouse, always the helpers were called like bhaiya or uncle,or daadi y amma like that, and we as children were supposed to be respectful towards everybody older than us, so thats the way, I and my children have seen, and imbibed.
I always said that if all of us even adopt a our maids..not financially al together...but by counselling abd being there in their distress, we can change the country. And helping this way is very motivating and self fulfilling also as the results are there in fronmt of you.


Very good post. The child was well guided by you.
Sometimes we adults need to be reminded, too.

Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

great ideas!! Especially liked the idea of putting a rupee into piggy bank. Perceptive post.