Many of our kids are growing up quite comfortable financially and they often have little exposure to others that are not. They have a very narrow and privileged view of the world. They are definitely lucky and I wouldn’t want them to suffer in anyway but then how do we teach them to appreciate their privileges? We need them to realize and understand that the people with less aren’t lesser people. I want my kids to strive to work hard and be responsible but know that this is only part of the formula for success. Luck is a big factor as well and sometimes people have bad luck or tragedies that keep them from living a very comfortable life. Our kids need to learn respect for these people too and not judge them.
Today I joined my 9 year old son, Shaan, on his CARE kids trip to a nursing home and a soup kitchen. At the soup kitchen they delivered many boxes of food that they had been collecting from area families and they took a tour of the facility. After that, they went to a nursing home and visited the Alzheimer’s patients (‘All timers’ as my son called them). They had prepared a few songs to sing for the patients and had also made Valentine’s Day cards to hand out to each patient. Some kids were a little scared so they didn’t want to personally hand out their cards but most were happy doing this. CARE kids is a service-oriented club in the school that most of the third graders belong to. They do projects and learn about helping the sick, elderly or underprivileged people in our community. I think it is a great way to bring awareness and a sense of caring to our children.
I think it is great that this club exists in the school because it is often hard for individual families to teach these values. Some families don’t have time and are struggling themselves so they can’t pause to remind their children of others in need. Others weren’t raised to focus on those values themselves so the children have no exposure. Many times I have also seen a lack of these values in first generation immigrant families. I’m not being racist since my parents were first generation immigrants and though they tried to help the community, many friends were not interested. Sometimes those new immigrants have a goal of struggling for their own success since that is why they left their country and family. They may not yet have a sense that the people around them now are their own too. They haven’t yet developed that sense of community involvement that drives you to help all types of people around you, knowing that they would do the same for you.
I think it is very important for families to emphasize the values behind community service. However, I am grateful that our schools are bringing that awareness to create a more caring new generation. Thanks CARE kids!!!