It always surprised me that you need to have some sort of a diploma or experience for every single job in the world, from cashier to driver, to babysitter. Yet everybody can become a parent without having had any training in parenthood. And if you think about it, it’s kinda scary. I really take this parenting-job rather seriously. As parents we have such an influence on our children and our kids are looking up to us. I try to be aware of my actions and how I can be a good example to my kids (though often enough completely failing at it….:-)).
For a few years my life motto has become “Be the change you want to see in the world”. It’s applicable on so many levels; from being patient with my kids (still a lot more work to do there…), to being kind to people, to taking care of the environment, to choosing inspiring books for my kids to read, etc. I find it important, that in the hectic of life, to contribute to the world wherever I can and to teach my children to do the same. But how do I teach my children to make the world a better place?
My kids are 3 and 5 years and my oldest daughter understands more and more that not all people have the luxurious life that we’re leading. Living in Myanmar makes it more tangible, because poverty is all around us. So we give away toys and clothes to our church that hands it to their very poor community centers. We clean up some garbage at the park we live next to, and we help the neighbor get a new leash for his dog because the old one is too small and is giving him nasty wounds. All great, and we keep moving on with our life, forgetting about it. I wanted to make our good deeds more visible to the kids. Not to give ourselves a pat on the back, but as a constant reminder to my family to do good and to keep doing good.
So we made a ‘goodness’ tree where we make pictures of some of the things we do as a family to contribute to the world. That can include a picture of our Secret Santa activity, of using reusable bags instead of plastic bags when we shop, of rescuing a bird that was stuck in our apartment building, of a drawing for a sick friend, and of sharing our toys with other children we don’t know.
The kids, looking at the tree, talk about the things they have been doing and are proud of it and excitingly come up with new ideas.
So slowly our tree is growing leafs that hopefully are bearing fruit to this world.