Every parent wants to raise kids so that they have t better than they did growing up, but are we raising them to make a difference? What’s the difference between wanting the best for our children and wanting our children to do their best? Raising a change-maker in today’s world full of selfies and self-centeredness can be challenging. My greatest wish for my children is that they will become empathetic, loving, caring young men. Fame, money, and acknowledgements mean nothing if you don’t do something meaningful with your life. So how can parents raise kids who make differences? In Michele Borba’s book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, she discusses, among other things, several ways to make children more empathetic so that they may become change-makers in today’s world.
How Parents Can Help Kids Become Change-makers
Oftentimes, parents don’t realize just how easy it is to raise kids who make a difference in other people’s lives in a positive way, but there are actually several ways to raise change-makers in today’s world. Here are some ways to help your child make a difference from Michele Borba’s book.
Find a Cause that Concerns Your Child
Consider your kid’s personality when trying to find a cause to get into. As with anything, kids are far more successful with things they find interesting than when they are forced to do things they have no interest in. Think about it. Find opportunities to volunteer in various places and see which cause your child gravitates toward. Once you find that special cause, you have opened the door to raising a change-maker.
Think of Possibilities
Once you find the cause that your child shows the most concern for, brainstorm with your child to find ways to make a difference. Narrow down the possibilities so that the most realistic ones are left and then let your kid commit to doing one thing. Suggest that your child start small. In order words, instead of building a recreational center for children with disabilities, have your child email friends and family to donate developmentally-appropriate toys for children.
Make Plans to Make a Difference
Allow your kid to think through the plans and come up with a list of resources and people he needs to further his cause. Maybe he needs to make flyers or posters to get donations or he needs the addresses of people the family knows so he can send out letters asking for help. Make sure your kid knows that he or she cannot go out and do thing son his or her own. If going to an unfamiliar place is a part of the agenda, he or she must take you along. Safety first!
It’s a lot easier to make a difference in your local community than to think about committing to changing something overseas. You could go to your local food bank, pediatric hospital, or soup kitchen to help out. Or, alternatively, you and your child could start a food drive and then distribute the donations together. Either way, you will see the results of your work more readily when you start locally.
Encourage “Direct Contact”
Part of the purpose of helping your child reach out and make a difference is to help build the necessary skill of empathy. The best way to build empathy is through face-to-face interactions. If your child wants to collect toys for a children’s shelter, have him or her take it there so that he or she can see the look of gratitude on the faces of the children. If he or she wants to donate books and crossword puzzles to a senior center, have him or her distribute them to seniors personally. Again, seeing the gratitude on the faces of those you’ve helped is a tremendous empathy-builder.
Keep it up!
Choose a project that is more than a one-shot deal. Make it a project that can be repeated monthly or yearly so that he or she gets in the habit of helping others.
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Why Make a Difference?
Children in today’s world are seriously lacking in empathy, and it stunts their growth as human beings who need to work with others once they get older. To raise intelligent, caring, empathetic children means that you have raised children who can do things on their own, but who really make a difference in the lives of others. We need those kinds of people in the world. Don’t you want your child to be one of them?
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To purchase a copy of Michele Borba’s book, click on the picture below. I read it myself and found it was amazing. Take a look for yourself!