Children learn more from what you are, then what you teach.
By: Deb Baliko
As a parent, I want to teach my children to look beyond themselves and be moved with compassion for children who are suffering from starvation and slavery. This desire brought up the question: am I purposefully and intentionally fighting to end horrific injustice against children, or is my first impulse to serve myself? After some self-examination, I decided to be more proactive and began to explore with my 5-year-old son how we, together, can impact the lives of the impoverished children that Orphan Relief and Rescue care for in Benin and Liberia.
Together we started reading Children Matter by Rebecca Pratt, written specifically for children to engage with the issues faced by families in West Africa. In discussing child slavery, I was intrigued by my son’s questions: “So, parents sell children because they don’t have any money? That’s wrong! Can we give them all of our money?”
Exposing this injustice to my son resulted in him not only asking big questions, but also sparked an interest in him to begin to think creatively about how we could make a difference in these children’s lives. We downloaded ORR’s Kids Helping Kids packet for fun ideas on how to fundraise and create awareness. Now, during his spring break, he wants to do extra chores around the house to raise money to prevent a child from being trafficked. He has big plans for a lemonade stand in the summer and to collect spare change from his friends.
When we take the time to reflect on our priorities and intentionally engage issues with our family, it is an amazing opportunity to join with our children to not only teach them how to live lives filled with meaning and purpose, but to call them to action.
Imagine our children returning to school after spring break, and the potential conversations they would have with their peers: “I sold some of my old video games that I don’t play anymore, and helped save two kids in West Africa from starvation!”
What issues stir your heart, as a family, to take action?
We would love to hear the creative ideas that you and your kids come up with as we together link arms to make a big difference!