At a small house in a small city in Java, Indonesia, they celebrate birthdays in a slightly different way.
Like a typical children's party, we can see kids huddled around piles of gifts to admire the colorful wrapped gifts. However, there is one big difference in the birthday celebration event in this family. The contents of the present is not a birthday gift for their daughter. The contents of the gift was a choice of charity for his daughter: a shelter that looked after abandoned and homeless animals.
As part of the Sukoco family tradition, when you turn 7 years old, you will no longer just enjoy the festive birthday party. Friends who come to your party will be asked to bring a gift that you will later open before the gift is donated to the charity of your choice.
"You have to see how excited my daughter friends are when she opens a parcel of sand for cat or a pink cat necklace," says Widarti, mother of three girls. "You might think that it was a celebrity poster."
Animal shelters are a favorite choice because of the special experience on offer. The owners are very happy with the help provided and the children can play with the animals, while learning how these charitable activities can improve their quality of life.
"I want to teach them to care about others," said the mother. "Today, we learn about caring for animals, things they can understand at an early age. As we get older, we plan to discuss more serious topics and issues—such as entertaining children in sick hospitals or children in different parts of the world who need food, shelter, and even pencils. It's important for them to learn that not everyone is as lucky as they are, and that they can make a difference."
They were not alone. Many parents are instilling social concerns in the raising of their children. Another example is a mother named Diandra who works as a junior high school teacher. She conducts various fund-raising activities at her school, including helping hungry children, donating used books, and a special day for contemplation done every year to raise awareness of neglected children around the world.
Diandra also did the same for the education of his 5-year-old son. He collected canned food on Halloween day to donate and set aside one-third of his allowance each week to donate to his chosen charity at the end of the year.
"We want him to realize that he is lucky to have many things, but that also means that he has a lot to share with others," she concluded.
You, as a parent, can also follow in the footsteps of the parents above to teach children care early on. Care that is taught early on will be embedded in your child's mind and affect his personality until growing up. Here are ten ways to make your child have social concern while enjoying fun family activities.
- 1. Visit the orphanage and play with the children there
- 2. Donate toys and clothing worth wearing for children in need.
- 3. Invite your child to donate some of his allowance to charity.
- 4. Helping underprivileged children both inside and outside the country.
- 5. Participation to help charity activities in the community.
- 6. Donate books to the library or home reading.
- 7. Donate food to others.
- 8. Create new habits in the family by volunteering.
- 9. Take help at animal shelters.
- 10. Participate in activities of walking, running, rollerblading, or cycling for charity.
These ten ways you can try to begin to teach care for your child. If you have other ideas as a choice of other ways, feel free to give it a try. Whatever way you do, speak to the child about the meaning of gratitude and the importance of caring for others.