Being the parent of a norm-pushing, boundary-crossing, free-spirited child who is on a mission to save the world-or at least the world as they see it -can often feel like a tricky adventure. Tag this with trying to figure out how to nurture their inner wildling in a way where they feel free to be who they are but also set the base for a successful future, may seem like the work only saints can achieve. However, after some talks with real life parents of real life Changemakers, we are here to tell you - it is possible!
Here are 5 key tips which parents have found successful in helping their precious fledgling blossom into a vibrant Changemakers:
1. Trusting- parents of young Changemakers make it a point to trust their young offspring when they embark on a journey of Changemaking. One parent stated that even when her son was spending hours on Facebook, she had to trust that he knew what he was doing and had to give him the space he needed to explore social media. As a result of his mother’s trust, Tanay was able to scale project Poster to Shelter nationally and impact countless lives.
2. Engaging- young harbingers of change have parents who engage them in real world issues. The father of one such Changemaker claimed that even as they are watching TV, he makes sure that she is aware of her environment and the problems in it. He is always there too push her to think beyond herself. As a result, young Shrushtee was able to develop a new shower head which uses less than ½ the amount of water in order to address rising water issues.
3. Accepting- Even when the purpose of the activity isn’t fully understood, many mystified parents have claimed that they knew they had to look beyond their definition of success and see what the modern world required to be successful. Once they gave their youngster time to experiment, they quickly saw the potential and value in the project both within the childs’ personal development as well as in their academic. As a result Rohit has been able to develop his plans to improve and create sustainable building.
4. Exposure- within many Changemaker households, parents actively include their children in their own work-be it clothing the homeless, or lighting up someone’s life with a free paintjob. Parents push kids out of their comfort zones and talk to them about the joy of community and of looking out for the happiness of others. As a result Hridey was influenced at a young age to think about how he too could touch the life of another.
5. Safety- don’t get us wrong, these tips do not give a license to let your child run wild in the streets. All parents said that the most important thing they have done was creating a safe place for the child to explore- be it teaching street smarts, giving boundaries for surfing the internet, connecting them to trusted NGO’s or experts, or being physically present when experimenting with dangerous materials. When a child feels safe, the possibilities for creative problem solving and socio-emotional development are endless!
The bottom line parents, is that you play such an important role in who your child grows up to be. Whether they want to save the planet or help your next door neighbour, allowing them the space to explore their ideas will impact them for the rest of their lives! Don’t be afraid to let them fly!