It's a tricky thing, isn't it? Raising kids to be aware of the world and the people around them, the sadness and the hard things of life (remember when Sam first discovered homelessness?), finding that balance between righteous outrage and optimism while not totally freaking them out? There are so many things I just don't even want my kids to know about yet. But someday, if they're going to change the world, they're going to need to. I really don't have all the answers, but here are a few things we try to do.
- We try and involve the kids in age-appropriate discussions about national and global events, as well as local ones.
- We involve the kids in service. Clay is the best at this; he's always out shoveling neighbors' walks, or organizing sidewalk cleanup events for the family or taking the kids out to collect canned goods for the food bank.
- We get books out at the library that talk about tough issues. Right now we're reading about John Brown.
- We take them with us when we get involved. They go to the polls with us, and even recently to a political rally. It's not like we go to a ton of rallies or anything, but when we really care about something, we do. And we bring the kids. (You can sign the petition if you're interested in clean air in Utah:)
- We empower them to make a difference in small ways. For family night this week we talked about ways the kids can make the world a better place, through kindness and small acts of service.
What do you do to help your kids grow up with compassion and the optimism that they can make a difference?
PS I shamelessly stole these pictures from Clay's blog, except for that picture of Sam. That was his first time "voting" :)