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by Louise | September 8th, 2010 | Teen Perspective

The act of volunteering is one of the most important aspects of life that you can teach your children. When one volunteers as a young child, it becomes a habit. One will naturally volunteer later in life it, because he or she has been brought up doing so.

I recently partook in City Days, an event in which a large portion of the freshmen at the college that I attend are assigned community service tasks around the area. My group went to the Franklin Park Zoo, and our job was to weed all of the flower beds of the walkways and the Butterfly Garden. As an added bonus, we were allowed to explore the zoo at no cost after all the work was done. The job was fun, especially when surrounded by other working peers, and because we knew we were helping the zoo be a more beautiful place, it was also rewarding, as most volunteering opportunities are.

I got up that morning excited to be a part in our mass effort to help out the community, excited that my college would support such an event. (Free shirts, breakfast and lunch were provided to all volunteers.) Unfortunately, not all of the students in the incoming class signed up for City Days. In fact, not all of those who had signed up to help during City Days even showed up. Many reported having slept in or having changed their minds about wanting to help out. Really, it is unfortunate to see so many peers regard community service as a chore.

In order to avoid the idea that community service is a chore, parents should never force a child to volunteer. Rather, one should present numerous opportunities for a child to help out in the community. Hopefully, the child will choose to help out their community more often than not.

Teach your children while they are young. Show them different ways they can help out: cleaning up a public park or garden or perhaps tutoring younger children. Show them how volunteering is both fun and rewarding. Volunteering is a habit that helps entire communities; what could be better than that?

  1. Sue Atkins says:

    What a super article and because children learn by example it can also be great way to bond as a family, teaching your values whilst making a difference in the world
    Sue Atkins
    Author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies”

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