You can grow children who use their resources to care about their neighbors and their larger world by promoting social responsibility within your family.
Creating an impact is about making smart choices on how you spend your time, money and talent, not about what you give up to do that. That’s what Christen Brandt and Tammy Tibbetts say in their new book Impact: A Step-by-Step Plan to Create the World You Want to Live In. Here are some ideas and ways for your kids and teens to make an impact in their community and beyond.
Find your North Star.
Brandt and Tibbetts say the first step to social responsibility is figuring out your North Star, or which causes and issues are most important to you. Involve your children in discussions about the environment, injustice and basic human needs. Research shows that kids who find causes close to their heart are more likely to continue working to make an impact over the long term.
Social responsibility starts at home.
Give your children responsibility early with small chores, like taking care of pets or helping prep family meals, to teach them they are part of a community.
Practice good citizenship.
Take your children with you when you vote in a local or national election. Educate young children on the role of the military in keeping us safe, and encourage them to thank a veteran for his or her service. If you don’t have veterans or active servicepeople in your family, check out Inside Out Club’s Library to find organizations such as Operation Support Our Troops, Honor Flight Chicago and Heart of a Veteran. Families can support these nonprofits by writing gratitude letters to veterans or purchasing items from the groups’ wish lists.
Cheer up a heart from afar.
Teach your children that their larger community includes residents of nursing homes, people who are fighting illnesses, and all the frontline health workers who are taking care of others. During COVID-19, encourage kids to write positive, hopeful letters to nursing-home residents or frontline workers. Emphasize that as a family you can be responsible for building a culture of support and optimism in your community.
Use social media for good.
If your family allows teens to use social media, add some good causes to their feeds. Check out the Instagram accounts of Charity: Water, Recycle by City or Oxfam America to engage with nonprofits and see how others are supporting social responsibility in the U.S. and across the world.