If we want our kids to have better lives than us, we should teach them how to be socially-conscious individuals. It starts with helping others and treating them as our equals. It also includes protecting the environment and behaving with honesty and integrity.
The Value of Assistance
Imagine yourself walking down the road when suddenly you see a friend or family member being hit by a reckless driver. Wouldn’t you run to her and try to help? Wouldn’t you call an ambulance, check her vitals, and make sure she is ok? And if she requires legal advice, wouldn’t you assist her in finding a respected pedestrian accident attorney to deal with the details of her specific case?
Any person who understands the value of family would answer yes. Even if you are a bad person, you would still probably help those closest to you.
But would you do it for a stranger, for someone whom you have never met and will most likely never have anything to do with?
The answer to this last question is not that simple. If you are an optimist and believe that human beings are good by nature, you would say yes. And that is how it should be. We should help when others need help, regardless of whether we know them or not. And we should teach our kids to do the same.
All Shapes and Sizes
One of the most famous lines of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in the United States almost two hundred years ago. Yet, the current sociopolitical environment we find ourselves in would lead many to believe that we are still living in the era of colonialism.
Babies are not born with hate. Social, racial, political, economic, and religious discrimination is something we learn as we get older in life. As a result, it is also something we can unlearn, something we can teach others not to do.
As parents, one of our biggest responsibilities is to imprint in our kids the notion that all people are equal and deserve respect. It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you believe in.
Mind Your Surroundings
If you are a smoker, don’t throw the butt of your cigarette on the road. Better yet, don’t smoke at all. If you are an athlete going out for a run and carrying a bottle of water, put it in the right bin after drinking it. Plastic is not biodegradable. If you come back to the same spot 10,000 years from now, the bottle will still be there. So don’t chuck it into the wrong container.
Environmental consciousness is not just about criticizing factories spewing deadly chemicals into the air. Of course, this helps, and the voice of the public can generate drastic positive change.
But it’s more than that. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions as a human being and paying it forward for the generations to come.
Living on a clean, healthy planet with a sustainable environment is not only our right as people but also our duty to those who will come after us. Let us not wait until we have the technology to move to a different planet. The one we live in now can still be saved.
The Road Less Traveled
A teenager who cheats on an exam might get the results he desires and with it the satisfaction of passing a class or entering the university of his dreams. But this is not maintainable. At some point in life, cutting corners and behaving dishonestly will catch up to you. Someone will see you hiding something, or you will make a mistake.
Before it’s too late and the consequences of your actions are irreparable, why not cut the branch before it can grow? Why not teach your son that the easy path is not always the best? The road less traveled is often the one worth taking, the one that leads to real success.
If there is one thing you can teach your kids is to be honest, both to themselves and others. Hard work entails plenty of sacrifices, but the rewards are much greater. Along with the material, you will feel good about who you are, and best of all, you will be content and at peace.
Our kids are the future. Thus, we should do right by them and instruct them on how to be upright citizens. They will thank us for it when they become adults.