PARENTS

Raising Children Who Care And Contribute

27/01/2015 17:06 | Updated 22 May 2015

Child giving homeless man food

By Craig and Marc Kielburger

People often ask us if we were raised to be 'activists.' In fact, the word was never used in our house. Our parents taught us to care and contribute, allowing us to be led by the values they instilled in us.

Exhibit A. It was December, just before Christmas and mum invited us (just boys then) to join her in the city centre for some shopping. Being from a little way out of town, we were keen. The Christmas hustle and bustle was astonishing. We were dashing down an icy pavement, careful not to stumble over the outstretched feet of a homeless man. His trousers were torn and he wore a tattered scarf around his neck.

We didn't think to stop, but mum did.

She led us by the hand and approached the man with a smile. She asked his name and whether or not he'd been able to find shelter the previous night. The man seemed surprised that anyone -especially a parent with her children - would stop to talk to him as a real person, but he warmed up to her quickly.

Mum opened her purse and placed some loose change in his gloveless hands. As she did, she drew us into their conversation. We were uncomfortable at first, but soon we were connecting with this one-time stranger's story.

That was, and still is today, mum's way. She never lectured us on the importance of helping the poor. She didn't have to tell us it mattered, because she showed us. In refusing to turn away - or let us walk by - she taught us that everyone deserves to be accepted and acknowledged.

Through our work with Free The Children, we've learned that kids care deeply about matters near and far, from local homelessness to global education. Our international network of engaged youth has grown to be 2.3 million strong (and counting). Many are looking for a place to begin, and that's where you come in.

You've already seen how your kids are looking to you to guide the decisions they make every day. That's why we're bringing Free The Children's resources to the Parentdish community. Whether you're looking for activities to empower your child, or you'd like some pointers on teaching empathy, we have tips, activities, ideas and blogs to inspire you.

If you have any topics you'd like to see covered, keep in touch at parentdish@freethechildren.com.

Craig and Marc Kielburger are social entrepreneurs, humanitarians, social activists, renowned speakers and best-selling authors of more than a dozen books, including The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care and Contribute , in which they share insights from almost 20 years of empowering youth around the globe.

Since co-founding Free The Children in 1995, Craig and Marc have learned from some of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time, shared simple meals with children in developing communities around the globe, and spoken with thousands of students and parents, witnessing the power that every child has to create lasting change.

The Kielburgers are also co-founders of We Day, a series of events that inspire and empower young people to be active local and global citizens. We Day UK makes its debut on March 7 at the Wembley Arena.

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