GUEST BLOG POST: Inspire Your Child to Volunteer by Mark Victor Hansen
Coming from a family of immigrants, I’ve battled many problems – personal and social. My parents spoke Danish exclusively. English was almost nonexistent in our home. My parents didn’t know the language that America speak,s and this stopped them from being a part of many events that would be considered important in a child’s life. They were too self conscious to attend my PTA meets. They believed they would be ridiculed or insulted. I’ve never heard of or seen any educated person make fun of uneducated people for being uneducated, but the fear is common amongst immigrants. It probably stems from a lack of self confidence.
My kindergarten teacher was the one who noticed I had a reading disability. Once she knew I was going to find reading difficult, she got me to take up remedial reading. My remedial reading teacher was one of the most patient people I’ve ever met. She would sit with me every single day and simply help me where I stumbled. She was caring and considerate and had great influence in my life. This is actually the case with many people who learn a language like English. When someone teaches you English, you are given a great gift, regardless of who your teacher was.
This may seem like an odd point of view, but coming from a home that didn’t speak English shows you the importance of knowing the universally accepted language. Today, the knowledge of English is a necessity, not an optional luxury. Maybe that’s the reason so many schools of English as a Second Language are attracting more and more students. My first Alma Mater, the Southern Illinois University, boasts of one of the world’s best ESL schools. They teach English to kids in China and Vietnam which shows that such knowledge is not limited to international boundaries.
People who speak English actually have the ability to share this knowledge on to others. I strongly believe that anyone who has knowledge of some kind should volunteer to pass it on. When you teach someone to read, you are giving them a way to access the world and acquire more knowledge on their own. Teaching someone to love reading is equivalent to handing them the means to expand their thoughts and ideologies. Volunteering is inspiring to the volunteer since you are taking part in unconditional giving. This act fills every individual with an acute sense of happiness and fulfillment. Perhaps that’s why some view volunteering as therapeutic.
The point I’m trying to make is that volunteering actually benefits the volunteer more than the person being helped. You are filled with an energy and satisfaction knowing you enabled someone to get a little better at something. The best way to teach your kids to volunteer is to be a role model for them. Let them witness you volunteering, and once they see the difference it makes on you and the recipient, they’ll want to be a part of it too. You can even take them with you to experience how it works, if that’s comfortable for everyone involved.
Volunteering knows no age. Everyone knows something they can teach to others, even a child. You can help your kids find that ‘something special’. Once you identify it, tell them how sharing it with the world will make it a better place.
Born in January, 1948, Mark Victor Hansen is an author, inspirational speaker and trainer. He has co-created the international bestselling series, Chicken Soup for the Soul. He has co-authored Cracking the Millionaire Code and How to make the rest of your life the best of your life with Robert Allen and Art Linkletter. He is actively involved with charity organizations including American Red Cross, Oceana and Horatio Alger among others.
Currently working on Cash in a Flash with Robert Allen, he has also co-created the new site http://www.GoRichKids.com, dedicated to teaching kids and parents how to become successful entrepreneurs. For a free copy of the eBook, visit: http://www.GoRichKids.com within the next 7 days.