As a mom to a toddler, we haven’t gotten to the age, or stage, where I’ve been able to share with him my thoughts and actions on social responsibility. Yet, just because he is two, and wouldn’t understand, I can still start setting the foundation in the following ways. Here are my four “T”s:
1. Take them with you: The more your child sees you drop off donations or volunteer a school fair, it will provide an understanding, early on, that their family cares about other people.
2. Talk about what you do and why: They may not comprehend, but at some point they will. And they will remember that it is something you have been doing (and talking about) every month or every holiday.
3. Teach basic manners: Sometimes it can just be the simple things that sets the stage for a child to be giving. That can be teaching them to say please and thank you, or opening a door for an older individual.
4. Turn to books or other media outlets to find projects to follow and learn from. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be a discussion about the locally sustainable coffee or the necklace with the red ribbon.
For example, Macy’s has partnered with organizations, like the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, to create the Heart of Haiti. The Heart of Haiti is a program where Macy’s sells certain products that employs over 750 artists in Haiti. This employment provides financial benefits for an estimated 8,500 Haitians. It is not a handout, but rather a way to build the economy and the confidence of the people there.
Heart of Haiti products are available exclusively online at Macy’s.com, and most items range from $25-$60. Each item is a one-of-a-kind design and handmade by a Haitian master artisan from raw materials such as recycled oil drums, wrought iron, papier-mâché and stone. The collection features more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, ceramics, jewelry and paintings and is made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood. So not only does it help provide a stable economic environment, it also supports the actual environment. (A double educational effort.)
You can also check out video of Everywhere’s Travels to the Heart of Haiti at http://bit.ly/hohtrip. Even just sitting down and watching the video with your child, is a step forward to teaching our children to have heart themselves.
I received a complimentary Heart of Haiti necklace from the Macy’s collection. (Pictured above.) It inspired this post, and thus all thoughts, ideas, options and content is my own.