“We are the World, We are the Children – We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving”. As we reach the penultimate post of the #blogchatterA2Z challenge, let’s talk about Y for Youth Power and we come full circle to why I chose the topic of #raisingcapablechildren. Children and youth are the hope and future of this world. They are capable of bringing a fresh look and innovative thinking to any challenge and can help change the world. Youth play an important role in nation building. By raising capable children, you are doing your bit towards the world. You are bringing up confident, compassionate and determined children, each of who has the potential to make this world a better place.
Thirty one years ago, Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted and since then, a lot of progress has been made to improve the condition of children across the world. The number of stunted children has fallen drastically, many more children are going to primary school, polio has almost been eradicated. In many ways the world is a better place for children who are being born now. However, our generation is leaving a much more complex and fragile world for our children. Climate change is a huge concern, so is increasing inequality. Today the world is facing an unprecedented crisis in the form of a pandemic and technology has changed the way we live, work and communicate. The world is becoming more and more polarized and it seems that hate is being peddled much more than love. This open letter to the world’s children from UNICEF outlines some of these concerns very articulately.
Children and youth have something that the rest of us do not have – or rather lost it on our way to becoming adults. The belief that nothing is impossible and that they are invincible. They are yet to be touched by everyday mundane struggles of life and for them this world is full of possibilities and potential. Cynicism is not for them. It is this positivity, this energy that we need to harness.
As parents we need to have a vision that every child reaches his and her potential and is able to contribute to a better world through their skills and talents – be it their art or creativity or communication skills or their intellect. Let us raise capable children who will be the change agents this world needs. Let us give them that opportunity to light up this world with their love, compassion and positivity.
A lot of what I have already written in this series is just about that. Let me bring back a few of those thoughts here and share some more ideas for harnessing our children’s energy and help them reach their full potential:
- Instill compassion: according to me compassion and empathy are the first and foremost qualities to instill in our children. The ability to look beyond our own wants and needs. Encourage compassion and kindness in your child. Develop their empathy. Make them aware about the inequalities in the world and let them learn to be grateful. For more ideas check my blogs on empathy and gratitude.
- Make them aware: As our children grow up and understand the world around them, they will start to develop their own thoughts and perspectives. As parents we should expose them to national and global issues. We should discuss what is happening, share with them different perspectives (rather than just our own), and help them arrive at their own conclusions. Start involving them at dinner table discussions.
- Develop their self esteem and confidence: needless to say that if our children don’t value themselves or their ideas – they will not even be willing to share them – let alone implement them. I have noticed that recently my 10 year old has started to get involved in our discussions – he likes to give his opinions on my blogs or any brainstorming we may doing or what’s happening with the pandemic. We listen to him carefully and value his opinion. In fact, I changed my topic on N to Neuro efficiency because he was very sure about the topic. Encourage them to speak, to enact or implement their ideas.
- Help them find their niche: they will do their best in anything if that is what they like or have innate talent. A lot of times we make the mistake of wanting our children to mold into what we want them to become. A common question new parents are asked is – “what do you want him or her to become?” I always say, that’s not my decision to make, my job is to help them find what they like and help them to learn the skills that will help them get where they want to be. Rather than becoming and average engineer, or MBA, let them become a good or awesome dancer, designer, traveler, photographer, cook, comedian or a good citizen and a kind hearted person. The world needs all of them.
- Encourage them to volunteer: I believe volunteering is an important way to help children become agents of change. They are exposed to the various realities of life and are able to develop a mature understanding of them. I remember being exposed to a lot of volunteer work and non governmental orgsanisations during my childhood and college days. They played an important role in shaping my world view and choice of career. Explore such opportunities around your neighbourhood or school and encourage your children to participate.
- Encourage them to become an agent of change: today many schools and colleges bring national and global issues to their children in the form of essay contests, painting competitions, debates and so on. Many youth volunteer organisations open their chapters in schools, appoint their brand ambassadors and spread their message. Encourage your children to participate in such initiatives. Take for example Aarav Seth, he started blogging about environmental issues 3 years ago when he was just 8 years old. Over the years he has blogged about many issues around the environment and climate change and has become a strong advocate. He clearly demonstrates that no age is too young to have a voice and make a difference.
Believe in the ‘power of one’. Change begins with a single person who believes in an idea. Seed this idea within your child – they have the power the change the world. With that I end my blog and look forward to your thoughts and ideas.
Read my other blogs on the series here: