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The final article of a 3 part series focuses on taking our uniqueness to the next level. Teaching our children how to make a difference in their communities is fun and leads to a life-long journey in the service of others, and growth in one's character.
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To get the most out of this article, take a look at the definition of authenticity and why it’s important to encourage it in your
children. Then, follow up with 5 tips to help you do just that. In this article,
we are taking one of the reasons why
authenticity is so important and expanding on it – because it has a huge
impact, not just for your children, but also their local and global
When you are being your most ‘real’ you, living out your
values and using the gifts you were born with, you are now able to make a difference in the lives of others. There’s
no better time to teach your children about their power to do that than right now, no
matter what their age. Remember, if ever you say something to your child that,
developmentally, they cannot grasp, it’s OK. It just goes over their head. No
What if…today was the perfect day to set something beautiful in motion? And all it took was revealing something awesome
through a conversation or activity?
If you followed the steps in the second article, then you
have introduced authenticity to your child in a way that best suits your
family. Using that same language, you can let your child know that when they
are being their special self, they can do some very important work while having
a lot of fun and helping other people in the process.
Essentially, you encourage your child to take their passion
and turn it into a form of service.
Here are some examples:
· Turn a love of animals into a volunteer gig at
an animal shelter
· Convert a belief that all children should have
new pyjamas at Christmas into a pyjama drive for local children (Here’s how a simple idea like this went crazy and even has corporate sponsors! Big ripples
from one idea!)
· Take your child’s passion for sports and make
your local YMCA the beneficiary of your child’s next birthday party – instead
of gifts, guests are encouraged to bring cash that will be donated. Maybe throw
the party at the YMCA, and in the goody bags include some written information
on how the donations will help other kids have better sporting equipment.
· Do you have a child who loves jump-roping? They
might feel excited about starting a skipping club at their school for kids who
don’t know how to skip or are still practicing this skill. This can be
true of anything from drawing to soccer ball dribbling. (Getting the school
principal on board can go a long way here.)
· Take a virtue that your child has identified as
being important to them (love, patience, helpfulness, respect, kindness) and
encourage them to focus on it for an entire week. Help them remember this
virtue in different scenarios when you are around. At the end of the week, what
did they learn? How did they make other people feel when they practiced this
As you can see, you can take any of the above and modify it
to reflect your own child. Depending on the developmental stage of your child,
get their input on how they want to use their uniqueness. Even coming up with the
ideas can be fun and stretches those creative muscles!
One thing I’d like to note: I try to talk about helping/giving/serving
in ways that are uplifting, hopeful and non-judgmental. It can be hard not to
say things like, “You can’t waste your dinner like that – don’t you know there
are kids who don’t have enough food to eat?” I’m sure that’s slipped out of my
mouth more times than I’d like to admit. But I remember the enormous guilt I
would feel as a child about ‘having’ things that others didn’t. It’s a
counterproductive feeling and doesn’t motivate anybody for the right reasons.
Here’s the thing I try to focus on now: We all have
something to contribute, no matter where we live or what we possess. Use the
language you have chosen for your family to remind your child that everybody
has the power to help others. Sometimes our job is to give someone what they
need (compassion, time, clothing, food…the list goes on) so that they, in turn,
can let their special light shine on someone else. Being a part of the ripple
effect is empowering, and eliminates byproducts of the negative emotions we
want to steer clear of.
We are heading into the Christmas season which is always a
time we exercise this principle. I encourage you to take this practice into
2015 and beyond, making service a regular part of your family’s life. And when
you are doing it from an authentic place, it is so fun and rewarding, you won’t
be conscious of the fact that you are also boosting your immune health, your
natural anti-depressant neurotransmitters and your overall outlook on life.
Now THAT’S worth passing on to your kids!
Taslim is the voice behind the blog Let ME Out!!, author of various works including her creativity and self-discovery workbooks, and creator of Make-A-Wave Cards found here. She is happiest being with her husband and three children, living their motto: Keeping Up with the Jaffers, not the Joneses. She fills her days cranking out articles, reading historical fiction and fundraising for the literary arts in between all the things that make her Mommy. (P.S. If you see someone dancing to her own steps in Zumba class, that would be Taslim!)
Wow what a nice article, made me think more, i feel i can do this with my two and half years old, she is in that stage where she's absorbing everything, wanting to do everything and I want her to know doing things you love most is the key to health, good life and you get great joy, fulfillment at the end everyday you do something you love and helping others.
Posted by Sithembile D on Jan 9, 10:12 a.m. |
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