Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thoughtful Tuesdays - How can we raise a kind and compassionate child?

Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. - Peter Marshall

The reason that I have not been posting the last 3 weeks is that I was in India to attend my little brother's wedding... Well, I came back this Sunday and right at the airport, I had an discussion with Reya that forced me to ask this question to all of you... "How do we raise a child that is kind and compassionate?"
 
Reya was thirsty and I took her to the water fountain. After drinking her water, she let the water run for a while. I stopped her by telling her that we should not waste drinking water.
 
Reya asked "WHY?" 
I responded "There are millions of people on earth that don't get clean drinking water or enough food. If we use more than our share, it will make it even more difficult for them to get it."
She asked again "But how momma?"
I explained to her "When we use more water or electricity or food than we need, it leaves less for other people on the earth. This makes it more expensive. When it is expensive, lot less people can afford it. And the people who don't have money will get less or even none of these things or any other resource for that matter. So we should try to only use as much as we need and conserve as much as we can."

I looked at Reya hoping that she understood my explanation. It looked like she needed more time to grasp the concept.

Then she asked, "People have no water! really!"
I responded again "Yes, there are so many people who don't get enough food, who have to wear rags and walk for miles to get a pot of water."

Reya said "BUT THAT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE POOR. WE ARE NOT!!!"

I felt like I fell from the sky!!! Somehow this remark reminded me of the infamous "Let them have cake" remark supposedly spoken by a French princess upon learning that the peasants had no bread. I was deeply disappointed. I couldn't believe that a sweet girl like Reya could make such an insensitive remark. I felt that I had failed as a parent in this regard.

I explained to her that all people in the world deserve clean water and food and the less we waste the more access others get to them and that is how we can become responsible and kind global citizens and good human beings.

And I want to say the same to all of you...

I strongly believe that we, as parents should try our best to raise compassionate and kind children who are grateful for the comfy lives that they are born into and are moved by the plight of those who aren't. While our kids are fussing over the pair of soccer cleats whey want to buy, there are millions who don't have a single pair of shoe. While our kids, leave a plate full of food because they don't want to eat a particular dish, there are millions who would sleep hungry that night. While our kids to to great schools to get educated, there are millions who have to leave their childhood behind and work to support their families. While our kids are taking long hot showers, there are millions without access to clean water.

Did you know that the average American consumes more than twice as much water and energy as people in other nations?  We also contribute far more than our share of pollutants to the atmosphere and garbage to local landfills. The small choices we make every day can have a major impact on our world.

We all have seen ads from non profits that ask for your donations to help the people in need. I am not asking you to spend anything here in my blog.... I am asking you to SAVE. Save resources like water, food, electricity, fuel... save anything and everything you don't need to spend...

Since this post started with a water fountain discussion, let me give you 2 specific examples related to water usage.
  • A two-minute reduction in your daily shower time can save more than ten gallons of water. If every American used a gallon of water less every day, we would conserve the amount of water taken every two days from the Great Lakes, which is the world’s largest source of fresh water.
  • If every U.S. resident turned the sink off when they're not using it (brushing teeth, washing hands, and washing dishes), it could save as much water each day as all of New York City consumes daily.

It is great if you already donate, but the best way to help these people and Mother Earth is not by spending, but by saving and conserving and when we embody this principle and use it in our daily lives, we also set a good example in front of our kids to follow....

... and THAT in some ways helps to raise a kind and compassionate child!

Please leave a comment here and share your thoughts on how we can raise our children better.

Signing off,
Shilpa

3 comments:

  1. Excellent post--I'm glad that I instilled the habit to turn off the tap very early in my son (from the time he started using his toothbrush). I also feel its great that schools are doing a great job in educating our kids on reducing their wastage and we should try to reinforce what we can. If we talk about it, they do listen.

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  2. Nice post...just a year back even my son Ayush helped in getting my habit of keeping the tap on while brushing...by saying Mom pls conserve it atleast for others,,and I was really touched.He takes care nobody waste even a single drop in filling buckets/leaving the taps on...etc..Thx to School Mam's as well!!

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  3. Its really a challenge in India for raising a compassionate and kind child as u see beggars/household maids all around.
    We really have to become their role models and have to be very careful when dealing with maids or beggars at traffic lights in front of them.
    WE need to answer their queries abt rich/poor in a logical manner rather than just ignoring the questions and saying shut up!!

    Parenting really needs lot of patience and quality time we give to our kids especially when we all are working!!!

    Keep posting such lovely posts!!

    Deepa

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