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How to Raise Socially Conscious Children

Your children are lucky to have comfort, food, and love. Teach them that sacrificing for worthy causes and giving to others multiplies the good in the world.

Instructions

  • TIP: You will have to be patient with children, especially if they've grown up believing they are the center of attention. Lessons in humility take time.
  • Step 1: Create rituals of conscious sacrifice and selfless giving for the whole family, whether helping others in poor districts, working in charitable initiatives, or giving away cherished toys for deprived kids at Christmas.
  • Step 2: Join a faith community that is active in helping and housing the homeless to connect spiritual growth with social interventions of this sort.
  • FACT: To protect Darfur women who were attacked and killed while gathering firewood, 17-year-old activist Spencer Brodsky raised funds to buy fuel-efficient stoves, which use 70% less fuel wood to cook the same amount of food, cutting down on the women's time away from the safety of their camps.
  • Step 3: Find out what concerns your children and encourage them to write letters, to save money, and to make contributions to causes on their own.
  • Step 4: Participate in recycling programs to inculcate an immediate sense of responsibility for the earth's ecology. Help them connect what they use and ingest to its impact on the planet's survival.
  • Step 5: Discuss with your children their blessings compared with other children around the world -- parents, food on the table, and relative safety. Raise them to assume the obligation to help others who are less fortunate.
  • Step 6: Read to children from fiction and non-fiction books that emphasize socially responsible behavior and make heroes out of selfless individuals.
  • TIP: Even picking up a piece of paper is an act that contributes value. Teach them about stewardship of the planet.
  • Step 7: Set an example for your children through social activism, and involve them. Serve or deliver food to the hungry, volunteer to work on environmental cleanups, or attend community rallies for causes.

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