Next week, when we celebrate our nation’s independence, it’s good to remember that home is every child’s first community. What children see there influences greatly how they interact in the broader communities of their neighborhood, school, and ultimately the world.
Parents can have an enormous impact in helping young people become good citizens of their communities. Here’s how:
First, stay informed. Keep up with community concerns, beginning in your own neighborhood and extending to global issues.
Let your child see you using a variety of sources for your information: friends and neighbors, newspapers and magazines, radio and television, and responsible online sites.
Explain why it is important to vote in local, state, and national elections, and that at age 18 he or she will have this right and responsibility.
Find at least one cause in the community where you can volunteer to help. Let your children know why you think it is important and how you are trying to help. Let them join you if they want.
Opportunities range from helping other children or seniors, to helping animals or an environmental project. Share success stories with your children.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by problems in the community or the world, but individuals can and do make a difference.
Talk about the importance of joining forces for the greater good. That’s what has always made this nation great.