As parents, we are hardwired to protect, nurture and care for our children. In doing this, are we sometimes cushioning them from those tough journeys, that can kindle dormant reserves of energy deep within them?
Are we depriving our children of the quiet confidence that we ourselves built, while walking uncharted territory. The caring hand, the protective environment, the deep caution at anything that can expose the child to imaginary or real danger – is this also becoming a crutch that the child becomes subconsciously dependent on?
Haven’t we, during our formative years, flown to new countries in search of work, took part in challenging projects, followed some adventurous pursuits, taken on new roles, multi-tasked, failed, failed again and then reached where we are today…battle scarred, yet victorious
There is a raw vitality, an untapped energy within the youth of today, that is waiting to be channelized. And as role models, we have to lead our children towards the cliff edge, as the famed eagle couple do….for them to discover their wings. Because, to realize the privilege of having born a human, they have to discover their wings, learn to soar and overcome the fear that keeps them away from the thrill of flying
Which brings me to the subject of volunteering
We chafe at the social inequities, the civic mess, the corruption plague and the environmental degradation. We complain bitterly about how our peace, health, sanity, happiness, livelihood and safety is compromised because of the imperfections around us
Volunteering is a channel, to convert a lot of that anger into positive karma. Where simple pleasures are derived from helping those at the underprivileged end of the social structure, or impacting something that helps everyone’s lives become happier, safer, healthier.
Can we be role models for our kids to start learning to give a little bit of their time to volunteering. In thinking of others. Instilling a feeling of fulfilling a debt to society.
This is not about spending half a day in distributing blankets, It is also not about adopting a poor child through some NGO through a monthly bank transfer, This is about real, sweat powered, hard work. On ground zero. Or time dedicated to furthering some cause. and seeing it through. and attracting others to the same cause.
This is about your time, Time that we can take away from television, mall-hopping….. to help the child learn that this time is the most valuable gift we can give to our ecosystem.
Find a cause close to your heart. Plan how you can make a difference. Mentor your child on how he or she can make an impact. Invite others. And maybe, get your child to even earn a stipend for the volunteering he or she takes up
Pay it forward. It is definitely going to come back. And the confidence your child will build, and the reserves your child will discover deep within, will leave you astounded. And proud.
Find a cause to support on volunteered4india.org. Sameer Sikka is the Chief Mentor and Volunteer at http://www.volunteer4india.org