By Sugandha Chapman
I believe that one of the most important jobs as a parent is teaching my kids kindness. While we may want to shelter our children from the realities of the world, raising socially conscious kids is one of the many ways in which we can take charge and help change the world.
Raising socially conscious kids and guiding them to show empathy and become aware of social issues helps them to forge the future in which they want to live in. It’s about raisings kids to rise above and be compassionate leaders, community minded and caring members of their families and friends.
Veronica Sherman is a social activist, blogger and award-winning powerhouse behind Happily Made that provides training and financial empowerment to Cambodian women through her ethical toys. She is also the mother of four children who are fearless and strong in their desire to make the world a better place. I asked her about her top tips on how she raised socially conscious kids.
It’s easier than you think to raise kids who actually care
I’m often asked about parenting and as eager as I was in my early years as a mother to share my advice I am now hesitant knowing full well that there is no formula when it comes to raising children. Just when I thought I had figured something out one of my four children would prove me wrong and I was back to square one. Parenting articles are only ever useful if used as inspiration to find your own way of raising your children. Only you know the individual quirks of your child, the mood of your home and your current restrictions in being the parent you strive to be.
When I was a teenager I heard someone say that parenting should be more like discipleship than discipline. Those words rang through my being. I wanted to lead by example and teach my children through my actions. What I didn’t realise was that I would be learning along with them and eventually there would be a tipping point and my children would go from being my students to being my teachers.
Here are five things that I did to inspire my kids to be socially conscious:
Raising Socially Conscious Kids.
- Encouraged my kids to ask questions
Especially the ones I didn’t have an answer for. It took a little while but I taught myself to respond with another question instead of feeling the need to come up with an answer. After growing up in a religious home where we were taught all the “answers” it felt so good to show that it’s okay not to know and that more learning takes place when we strive to be curious instead of feeling the need to arrive at an answer. As my ten-year-old daughter says:
“It’s not as if adults have figured out the answers. They might as well ask us children, at least we have better imaginations than they do!”
- Brought them along to rallies
One of our favorite memories as a family is when we went along to our first rally to support Wikileaks. My kids were thrilled when our sign that said Don’t Shoot The Messenger was getting so much media attention but nothing compared to us walking down Rundle Mall in Adelaide chanting and clapping and feeling so connected with hundreds of strangers who shared a common cause. Since then we have made lots of banners and gone along to numerous rallies to show our support for marginalised people and worthy causes. It’s usually just one or two of my children that come along these days but it’s by far one of my favorite things to do as a mother. My days of belonging to a religious institution are long gone so having an opportunity to come together for a shared cause and feeling united with others is very special and I love that my kids can see the value of being counted as someone who spoke out against injustice.
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