Friday, January 8, 2010

Raising Global Citizens Part II- What does that mean?

In their dwelling, they love the earth;
In their heart, they love what is deep;
In personal relationships, they love kindness;
In their words, they love truth.
In the world, they love peace.
In personal affairs, they love what is right.
In action, they love choosing the right time.
~ Lao Tzu

For me, raising global citizens means helping my children understand their place on earth and the role they can play. As Rex Murphy said: If you were born in the West, you've won the only lottery that really counts from the very first moment you take air. We are blessed with so very many gifts and I think it is important for my children to understand those gifts come with the responsibility to use them wisely and widely to benefit those who aren't so lucky.

In order to use our gifts to the best of our ability, we need first to be aware. Aware of the challenges we all face socially, environmentally, culturally, religiously, racially, and economically. We need to recognize and nurture compassion and empathy. We need to be environmentally responsible in how we use the earth's resources and how we allow our economic decisions to impact the earth. We need to be tolerant and open-minded about the views, experiences, and needs of others. And we need to be able to see the connections between all these things. Decisions which are good for the environment are often also respectful of different cultures and economic realities. Social issues are can rarely be teased apart from issues relating to race, religion or cultural perspectives.

But being aware is only part of the journey. We need also to be able to use that awareness to motivate our actions and interactions with others. I think all kids have an innate tendency towards altruism. As parents, I think we can nurture and support our children's natural abilities to connect action with intention by helping them feel confident in their ability to make a difference, even if that means they can do nothing more than offer kindness.

Good intentions are at least, the seed of good actions; and every one ought to sow them, and leave it to the soil and the seasons whether he or any other gather the fruit.
~ William Temple

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