There are plenty of reasons to despair of the future, but I'm filled with hope and wonder when I spend a little time connecting with kids. They are amazing!
Just the other night I was watching a 60 Minutes segment that featured the founder of Free the Children, Craig Kielburger, a young man who was struck by the injustice of child slavery back when he was in 7th grade and since has built a successful charity empowering kids to change the world.
Kielburger's story is inspiring...and humbling at the same time. Saving kids from poverty and lives of servitude proved much harder in practice than in theory, but he didn't give up. He resisted the temptation to become apathetic, a pitfall that keeps many adults (myself included) from getting involved in any number of worthwhile causes.
This holiday season, I hope you will be inspired by this story, as I have been, and will give giving back another chance. You can create a home that inspires your kids to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. Here's how:
- Make community service part of your family's mission statement--It's easy to say that giving back is important, but when you put it in writing you're more likely to stick with it. Sit down as a family and write a "mission statement" that makes community service a priority.
- Incorporate charitable gift-giving into your holiday traditions--Work with your kids to clean out the closets, the pantry or the garage and donate usable goods to those in need. You won't have to look far to find a cause eager for donations this time of year.
- Shop for gifts that go to support important causes--Not sure what to give loved ones this holiday season? Hop online with the kids and let them help you shop for gifts that give back. Check out these suggestions from Harper's Bazaar.
- Let the kids stage their own charitable event--How about a hot cocoa stand, a gift-wrapping service or a cookie party? Children develop leadership and organizational skills and experience pride of ownership when they dream up their own way to give back.
- Plan a volunteer vacation--If you really want to take your volunteerism to the next level, plan a service-oriented family vacation for the New Year. Cross-cultural Solutions offers working trips to destinations around the world.
Photo from Free the Children
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools