Teaching Your Kids to Have a Caring Heart
One of the most important things we can leave our kids with is a global understanding.
How do people live in other countries?
How do children in the jungles of Peru adapt, go to school, eat, pray and live?
How about the kids in the slums of India, or the mountains of Romania?
I admit that my love for adventure travel dictates a lot of the way I think about these things. But even if I were inclined to stay home and scrapbook (I wish I were that kind of mom), I would hope that one of my more adventurous friends would push me out of that box into the world, to make me think.
If you've ever taken an amazing International trip, you know how much your mind expands. Something about the new culture, tastes, sounds, and languages, really gets the synapses firing. You come back fired up, creative, and with a completely new perspective.
It was like that for me after we worked in orphanages in Romania. Our hearts were afire. And I couldn't see how anyone could spent $50 on a pair of jeans anymore, when that was their entire months salary. After Peru, where I saw tribal people washing a dead cow in the river, preparing it for dinner, I had a completely different understanding of what it means to eat and prepare dinner for a family.
When my youngest was a newborn I took him to the jungle. I had to remind myself that Americans often live in places like that, as well as missionaries across the globe who raise kids in foreign lands. It was a great experience for my two boys, and waking up to wild monkeys howling in the trees was something they'll never forget.
They've traveled to London and Paris and a lot of other places, and they've been able to see how little kids there talk, live, and school.
But some of the most amazing experiences we've had are right here in our own backyard, spending time with kids who live in homeless shelters, and integrate into normal schools.
In it all they've got a "global" understanding, that the world is just simply bigger and more complex than the one we live in. Maybe it's a love for adventure or a love for the lost and broken that urges me to bring them to these places. It's not a popular choice, and it's one that's often argued by their cautious grandparents (really? You're having a homeless child over for Christmas dinner??). But, extending a hand to pull someone else back up, might be the only thing it takes.
And in order to do that, we have to be willing to adventure to another place, another country, or perhaps just a shelter or orphanage in your own backyard.
Tammy Kling is a mother and an author.
Her latest book, The Compass, is a transformational journey that guides people to access their dreams. The companion documentary by the same name features world renowned speakers and motivators Brian Tracy, Les Brown, and Tammy Kling among others.
Tammy blogs at Escape Suburbia.
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