Nurturing a Sense of CaringInnocence is a beautiful thing. There is a great sense of purity that is embedded in its core. This purity in inherent in every child, and I see and experience this everyday as a Mother. My role is to ensure that it is preserved, remaining uncontaminated for as long as I possibly can. Through this process, my hope is that I can let this beautiful attribute shine through in everything that my child says or does.One of the key lessons that I have learned through motherhood as well as through academic literature is that children have an innate desire to help someone in need. How is it then that some kids are more inclined to be charitable than others? The answer lies in active nurturing of this desire as well as providing channels for a child to participate and experience the joy that comes through helping, caring, sharing and giving.Here are a few ways I ensure that my child’s sense of caring for others is both developed and maintained.
- Building Awareness of the Less Fortunate: It is a gradual process but I tend to gauge readiness or seek for appropriate cues from my child to engage in a discussion on poverty, disease, natural disasters, or other factors that cause people from around the world to have far less comforts than she is accustomed to. Through the use of real photographs or stories, I try to focus her attention on being able to identify people in need. Most importantly, this drives more self-awareness of the many blessings she has been given.
- Practicing the Art of Giving: As an ongoing practice, every 6 months, she and I spend time cleaning out her closet and toys, pulling out things she may have outgrown. We then take it to a store that recycles kid’s clothing and toys so other children can enjoy what she no longer may have a use for. It is endearing to watch her go through her treasures, and as hard as it is, part with the things she once held so dear – like her favorite shoes, books and dolls. I hope that through this activity, she learns that life is not about clinging onto material belongings, but selfless acts of love and sharing with others.
- Participating for a Social Cause: It is never too early (or late) to include your child in activities that are aligned with your own belief system. For me, that was Milaap, India's largest crowdfunding platform. I was so excited to hear about the cause. As a new entrepreneur, I wanted to extend a helping hand to women in India who wished to do the same. My child saw my passion and wanted to be a part of it. We talked about the poor yet hardworking women in India who wanted to feed their children. It did not take long for my six-year old to voluntarily open up her small piggy bank and give all that she had to help these women. Meanwhile, as we ran the 10-day campaign to raise money, she was there with me every step of the way. We celebrated each time a contribution was made right up to the point where the goal was achieved. I am certain that this experience will be one that will remain etched in her memory.