In a world that has become increasingly individualistic, it is so easy to think only of oneself and ignore those around us. After all, it seems safer, and we don’t run the risk of confrontation if we leave each other alone.
But then we become apathetic to what is going on around us, and we miss what makes life worth living – learning from our environment and from the many people who enrich our lives.
So how do we avert the trap of apathy ourselves and teach our children to develop an interest in the world and the people around them? How do we help them understand the importance of becoming everyday superheroes?
It might sound difficult to achieve, but here are some simple ideas that pack a powerful punch in teaching this lesson to our kids. Here are some ideas on how to find wonder in ordinary things and understanding for the people around us. These ideas will help bring out those “superhero” powers Lily and her gang of “superheroes” so easily display.
1. Appreciate Nature
Visit your city zoo, the aquarium, bird sanctuaries, gardens, parks, observatories, lakes, and oceans. Instead of speeding through these locations like many of us often do, why don’t you stop and really take in the sights and smells? Pull over for a ten-minute break to smell the grass and look at the clouds through the trees or pick a few wildflowers with your kids. Encourage your children to create drawings or make up their own stories about the animals and plants that live in these areas and about the small details we never notice. Read about some of those special creatures with them and discuss why they are such an important part of human life and our planet.
Not only are you going to spend quality time with your child, but also these are great ways to introduce children to causes that matter. It provides an opportunity for them to understand their environment and how we are all so interconnected. In addition, they will come to better understand the importance of conserving our natural resources.
2. Appreciate History
Visiting the history museum in your city is another way to avoid falling into the “apathy trap.”
It’s always fascinating to learn about how people used to live in the past or to study about the early explorers to the “New World,” especially the lives of the children.
The exhibits in your local museums offer you and your children an excellent window into how people lived then, compared to how we live today. It also is an excellent way to learn/teach about the tragic moments of history. The lessons of the past can provide an important opportunity to discuss and deal with the environmental and social issues we are dealing with today.
If you don’t live near a good historical museum, the internet is an ever-expanding and exciting resource for historical exploration.
3. Appreciate People of All Ages
The beauty of life is that you can learn so much from everyone!
The elderly or the people a year older or younger, all have something to teach us about their experiences. The elderly, especially, are such rich living museums of information and inspiration. What is it about their life’s experiences that can help bring out our inner superheroes? We’ve talked about volunteering at assisted living facilities or adopting an older neighbor, and we can take that a step further by having our kids make stories or artwork about the days when these seniors were the same age as our children.
4. Appreciate Family
It’s incredibly easy to get so familiar with family members that we don’t see what can be learned from them. This should not be the case.
Obviously we can do many things in our family unit to help out and learn - helping with a new baby, helping with an ill parent or sibling, helping with household chores, helping with a family yard sale - there are so many powerful life lessons to be learned from one another to inspire and empower us to become superheroes.
Become creative and host a family career day where the different professionals in the family talk about what they do in their professions (include extended family members such as grandparents, cousins, and others.) This is just like a school Career Day, but even better, because the information will be coming directly from those closest to you.
Such an event can become a massive educational opportunity and encourage children to expand their thinking about their own journey in life.
Caring about the people and things around us in ways that inspire us to act and contribute to our communities does not always come naturally to everyone. However, incorporating some of these ideas into your family’s routine is sure to spark additional levels of creativity and build a growing sense of wonder in the lives of everyone involved, while averting the “trap of apathy.”