Children Giving Back – Lead By Example

Posted Posted by kenyanmom in Guest Posts, Kenyan Dad     Comments No comments

By The Kenyan Dad

The other day, I took time off from work to help my son prepare to go back to school. I did not expect much productivity from the day. I was mentally prepared to do the basics – check home work, do shopping, have that parent – child talk to motivate him and keep him on track as he gets into a new term. I find the talk part to be very important because it is at such talks that a parent is able to know if the child is on or off track and take the appropriate action before it is too late.

After what I saw as a successful talk, we decide to visit the barber in the neighborhood and since it is just a few metres from the house we decided to walk. Just nearing the exit to the gated community, there was a small boy literally under a car eating a snack. I asked him ‘mbona unakula chini ya gari’ (why are you eating from under the car). His reply? Sitaki kuombwa (I don’t want to share). While digesting that, as we walked a little further I noticed another group of kids, riding their bikes. I then had a flash back of back in the day when all kids would ride the bike. The haves and the have nots were equal but in today’s world, if you do not have, too bad you cannot be assisted, remarks my son echoed.

I then asked my son; why is it that other children no longer come to our house as they used to last year and the year before that? He replied, ‘Their parent told kids not to go to other people’s houses, not to eat in other peoples houses etc. I have no illusions of the world that we are living in. I know there are people out there who may give our children things to eat or drink with not so noble of intentions at heart but seriously, is the end result worth it?

When growing up kids do two things, what their parents want them to do and what they see their parents doing. We have all heard, it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. This saying according to me means, if you want to teach a dog tricks, do it when it is young. Same applies to our kids, the habits and values we instil in them when they are kids are most likely to be carried forward to old age and to generations that come after them.

For a child to decide to hide underneath a car so as not to share his snack, is it that the parent told the child he will be beaten if he shares or does he see the parents hide things when visitors are around or about to come? If the child can not share his snacks, will he give an extra pencil to another student who forgot his at home? Not that I am blowing my own horn, but every year, my son takes out all his clothes and sorts them. The ones which are small, he puts them aside and communicates his intentions to donate the items to those in need. He is only 7, and he has such a heart of helping, but in the estate, how many such kids are there?

We cannot blame the children for what they do or what they do not do. The blame lies mostly with the parents. It is what the parents do or say that makes the children do what they do. It is in giving that people receive. If we do not instil that in our children now, they will ‘not receive’ and will be termed selfish in that they will not be able to share any material things with anyone else even when the other person is in need. He will also not share knowledge amongst peers. Worst scenario is, your child, letting another child engage in harmful behavior because ‘he doesn’t care’ It is the small things that count. It is a wild world out there and how you shape your child to be will determine whether they are able to manage or not. Assuming a child leaves his lunch at home, will he stay hungry all day just because YOU told your child not to share? Do those from the disadvantaged backgrounds really have hope given that our children are becoming less of givers every day? Let us make it clear when it comes to giving, and give them that opportunity to make the decision on their own. If they start giving now, what will stop them from tithing when they grow up?

Next Time: Introducing Money and Finance To Your Child

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