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Kids Who Care

May 04, 2016 by

As Muslims, we are taught that we should be examples of kindness and compassion in our families and communities, and to give in whatever ways we can. How do we raise our children into adults who fulfill their potential for compassionate citizenry? Paul Rogat Loab explains in his article, "Kids Who Care" in Parent Magazine.


Kids Who Care

Socially active children are not only more likely to become compassionate citizens but also to excel in school, avoid drugs and alcohol, and be creative problem solvers. Here are easy but effective ways to inspire your whole family to help others.

By Paul Rogat Loeb from Parents Magazine

Gazing out of an airplane window over Washington State, 5-year-old Adam Werbach was awestruck by the lush green carpet of the Northwest forest -- so different from his home in Tarzana, California. But then he noticed bare patches in the forest that looked like giant footprints. When he asked his parents if a monster had created them, they explained that the huge brown areas were timber clear-cuts made by big logging companies.

Three years later, his parents showed him a petition they had received in the mail from the Sierra Club. It asked for the resignation of then-President Reagan's secretary of the interior, James Watt, who had frequently belittled environmental issues. Reminded of the clear-cuts he'd seen on the plane, Adam brought the petition to his second-grade class and then went door-to-door with it in his neighborhood. Within a week, he'd gathered 500 signatures -- and Watt did eventually resign.

Encouraged by this early success, Adam formed an environmental club at his middle school and then a national network of concerned teenagers when he was in high school. In 1996, at age 23, he became the Sierra Club's youngest-ever national president.

Although Adam Werbach followed an exceptional path, America's future depends on our raising children who will become "soulful citizens," with the skills, confidence, and commitment to make a difference in the world. For the past 30 years, I've studied why young people do or don't concern themselves with big issues such as homelessness, the environment, and quality education. Most of the time, kids learn to care when the entire family is involved. Children don't always do what you say, but it's amazing how faithfully they'll do what you do.



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