Raise Your Kids to Be Responsible Adults, Part 6 - Help Them Believe They Can Impact the World

Martin Luther King made a difference! So did Oskar Schindler and Florence Nightingale. These were amazing people, but even though their stories are so magnificently encouraging, we know that they were not alone. Hundreds of people in our history dared to make a difference, to pioneer an idea or a thought, that no one else had the courage to do.
Though it is possible for our kids to make such grand contributions to the lives of many, they may never be internationally recognised for it. I am referring to something quite mundane, simple and safe - helping to save our planet.

People who don't recycle, reduce their waste, or reuse what they can, use the excuse that not every one does, therefore, they argue that what little they can do won't make such a big difference after all. They do not believe that it's their responsibility to help save the planet, because whatever they could do, would be so small, it wouldn't matter anyway. But we all know how wrong this is, don't we?

Teaching our children that they are responsible for helping to save the world, gives them a sense of importance. (This is a good thing). It teaches them that they CAN make a difference, either as one singular person, or as part of a group. It helps them to understand that there are consequences for what we do, and that more often than not, these consequences affect other people.

The kids I work with think nothing of peeling the wrapper off a chocolate bar and dropping it wherever they are standing or sitting. They become indignant and swear at me if I ask them to pick it up. They have no sense of responsibility for their own litter. They do not understand that if we each pick up the can we drank from, there would be no cans at all hanging around. They do not understand this, maybe because they were never taught.

Our children need to understand that it is everyone's responsibility to save the planet we live in. The only way to do this is to get them involved in recycling from a very early age. This then becomes their way of life, something as normal as doing the shopping. Let them be the ones to sort out the plastics, bottles, cardboards etc. Take them to the recycling bank and let them actually put the items in the recycling units. Of course it would be more convenient and quicker to just do it ourselves, but this does not give our kids the pride of knowing that they are part of this vital, world-wide movement.

Get them involved also, in reducing the waste they contribute to the world, and reusing whenever possible.

Involving our kids this way, develops in them, the responsibility that we all should bear. They are less likely to grow up into teenagers and adults, who are so buried in anti-social behaviour, that they cannot understand that our actions affect our neighbours, our street, the country, the universe. This awareness will have been cultivated from an early age, and they would grow up with an already inbuilt sense of positive attitudes and social awareness.

What other crucial world-wide movement could our kids to get involved in, if it isn't recycling to help save our planet.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a freelance writer, and works with children and young people. She is a trained and experienced Youth Worker, having worked in this capacity for over 10 years. She has studied Child Psychology and has a keen interest in helping young people to find a positive direction in life, and a responsible place in society.
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