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For a Good Cause

Teach your children to work for a good cause and enrich their personalities and value systems, paving the way for a more socially conscious generation.

Most children today are pressurised to perform, be it in academics or in co-curricular activities. It starts as early as infancy. We first want our child to crawl, then walk and talk. We often compare notes with friends and relatives about how well our children are doing. Then it goes on to selecting the best play school for your toddler all the way right up to university. As parents we undergo pressure too, worrying about our child's future.

In this rat race, children are brought up forced to forget their role in society. Does this humanitarianism come naturally to them or is it just isolated to studying about it in their social sciences class? "Children today do not understand the need to be good to others around them." says Prema, a high school teacher in Cochin. "How many children or youngsters do you find getting up for an elderly gentleman in the bus? Somewhere along their hurry to compete, they even forget the basic courtesy." she adds. Encourage children to work for a good cause. This will help sensitise them towards their less fortunate counterparts in society. Here are some activities you can encourage your child to do.

Read to elderly

There are a number of old age homes in most cities. Elderly people in these homes are looked after and in most cases all their medical needs are taken care of. Encourage your children to visit them and read a newspaper, book or a magazine to them for half an hour. You can make arrangements with the authorities beforehand to make the required arrangements.

Spend time with orphans

A large number of orphanages are being run by both private and government organisations. The easiest way to help these days is to donate money. Very few people really reach out to share a talent or give their time to the less fortunate. Encourage your children to gather along a few friends and visit these orphanages and distribute sweets during a festive occasion, or share a craft they know. It is important for them to know that those children too are a part of our society and deserve every bit of attention that we can give.

Donate old books

Most children today do not read and even if they do, do not know what to do with them after having read them. Persuade them to collect old books, comics or magazines from their friends and neighbours and donate to a less privileges school or an institution that does not have these resources. This however should not be mistaken as being an excuse to get rid of old tattered books and magazines. Make sure they are all in readable condition.

Teach a child to read

One hour a week is all that your children will need for this activity. Most of us take education for granted. As adults we too tend to forget those who struggle for their education. Get your child to help another less fortunate child by teaching them basic reading and writing skills. This can even be done at home by teaching the children of your domestic help.

Collect old clothes and medicines

Another simple action is collecting old clothes and medicines to be distributed at an orphanage, an old age home or even to hospitals that treat the poor. One good idea is to help your children form a club whose members be given responsibilities to place collection bags at various buildings. These can then be donated twice or thrice a year. However, when collecting medicines make sure there are not past their expiry date.

Clean up the yard

Finally, the simplest of all deeds - clean up your own backyard! Children can join residents associations in their efforts to keep their areas clean. Help them work towards creating a cleanliness awareness programme in their neighbourhood. Most local associations will be willing to help in their efforts.

It is said that charity begins at home. When the seeds are sown in young minds, we can be sure the next generation will be a more caring and responsible lot.

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