By: Christie A.
A lot of the subjects we tackle at SOS are heavy and hard to explain to children. As a multi-generational organization, we’ve seen the amazing thing that happens as generations engage together to build community and love others. We value the work of investing in our children to build their hearts and worldview. We want to raise children who love big and want to change the world.
Here are three principles we use, to impart a love for building community into the next generation.
- Talk about hard things. Don’t shy away from hard conversation, lean in, and seek opportunities to actively build and shape worldview. Resilient Community Builders are formed as we talk to them about the things that are important and why they are important. Kids ask great questions, seek to answer them with honesty, in age-appropriate ways without making it weird or uncomfortable.
- Find practical and fun ways to jump in and start building your community together now! Balance out the real-life conversations around complicated topics with fun serving opportunities. We’ve included some fun ways to engage your children below to give you some ideas. Make it fun and do it together.
- Model Community for them. Children learn how to build and maintain relationships as they watch us model being in the community. Surround yourself with people who have different perspectives, life experiences and ideas. Kids actively glean from us as parents, but we need a variety of people investing in our children, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, and talking with them about the things that matter. So much learning and perspective-shaping happens when children get out and are active in the community, serving alongside people of all ages, talking, and having fun.
We are cheering you on as you do the hard work of raising community builders!
Fun ways to engage your children in building community:
Stock the Shelves
Every time you go to the store, add an extra item to your cart for donation. At the end of the month, take your kids to drop it off at a local food pantry. Food pantries do a ton to keep local families fed year round.
Volunteer at a Food Pantry
Food Pantries run with the help of volunteers. Spending the day at a local food pantry is a great way to engage your children in building a resilient community while also helping those who are food insecure.
Run a relay course carrying buckets of water. As they race back to the finish line, set up obstacles for them to navigate with the filled buckets and award points for fastest and who can complete it with losing the most amount of water on the course.
Real World Application: This is a very real struggle children around the world face to get clean water. As a family we can help impact children’s lives together when we give to help children have water.