“We talk so much about leaving a better planet to our children, that we forget about leaving better children to this planet.”
– Gerry Burnie
As Gerry Burnie said, we often worry about the world we’re leaving for our kids, but there is hope and agency to be found in seeking instead to focus on creating children who will make our world better. Our legacy as parents is raising the decision-makers of tomorrow, and in doing so, we have an opportunity to also build a better future for the environment and for humanity.
What is citizenship?
Citizenship is everything that makes a person belong as a member of their community, and being an engaged citizen means proactively involving oneself in bettering that community for all who share it.
How do I know if I’m a good citizen?
Being a good citizen means that you accept, respect, and care for your community.
A good citizen is honest and fair, has self-discipline in setting and meeting goals, shows respect to others, is concerned about their community’s problems and needs, keeps in mind self-respect, stands up for their beliefs and rights, and has a sense of responsibility.
There are so many things we can do in our daily lives to model these qualities and encourage them in our children.
Fun activities to teach citizenship to your children
Teaching citizenship to kids doesn’t have to be boring! It can be a fun, playful, adventurous, way to spend time together as a family. I have chosen five activities carefully that will build citizenship in your kiddos while also creating wonderful memories for all of you.
Do you have other citizenship-building activities you’d add to these? Please let me know in the comments!
- Volunteer together
Volunteering can help boost your children’s self-esteem and give them a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction while doing good for your community. Many nonprofits and other community organizations seek volunteers to assist them in advancing their missions. Search for volunteer opportunities in your area that align with your family’s interests. Are your kids animal lovers? See about volunteering at a local shelter.
- Travel internationally
Traveling abroad can help your kids to expand their horizons, making them more empathetic by being exposed to different cultures and languages. Also, traveling internationally can help them to be more flexible and adapt to changing situations.
- Attend cultural festivals and events in your city
Culture is everything that gives a society its identity and that influences a citizen to be who they are: their values, humor, point of view, empathy, relationships, hopes, and beliefs. Attending cultural festivals will allow your kids to experience diverse artistic expressions outside their normal frame of reference and school classrooms.
Helping to ensure the planet’s preservation is a task of every citizen of the world. Teaching our kids to recycle, repurpose and reuse will make them more sensitive and mindful of their environment, and also will teach them to be empathetic not only towards other humans but animals, and plants as well. One fun idea: Make recycled decorations for a party or a bedroom, together!
- Plant a tree together
Teaching our kids the importance of building and maintaining a clean environment is our duty as parents and hopefully, the cycle will repeat when our children are parents themselves. Planting a tree together is messy fun, gets us outdoors, and also has a lot of benefits for us and the planet: Trees maintain our environment and keep our air clean, activities within nature reduce stress, and planting a tree as a family is a great way to build memories
Note: Research the tree species you’re about to plant. Make sure it is a local species and will preserve the well-being of the ecosystem.
Good citizens are made, not born. Let’s make them, Mamas!