Teaching kids about causes.

Teaching children about causes is an important thing. Well, teaching them to understand what a cause is and what they can do if they feel strongly about a cause is an important thing.

This can be done by talking about causes with them, taking them to volunteer with your causes, or having them donate to their causes.

Whether or not your child will believe in the same causes you believe in won’t be determined for a while. But it is important to teach them to care about things, people, and places that are bigger than themselves and their house. Caring is a part of being in the world and sharing it with other people. If more people cared, we would have a less callous world.

This came up in a family discussion over dinner last night. We were talking about the “Don’t buy gas on April 15th” cause. I mentioned that I don’t care for that cause because people will simply buy gas the day before or the day after – it will not really matter. I said, “I am all for causes that matter, but a cause or action that simply doesn’t make sense makes me want to scream.” My son asked, “What’s a cause mommy?” Which made me explain.

I told him that people are upset gas prices are high and want to do something about it – but instead of doing something that might matter, people are doing things that don’t make sense. He asked me what would matter. Here were some ideas I gave him: Reduce gas consumption, buy one less tank of gas a month, lobby for more public transportation, lobby for higher gas taxes so people will use less gas, or ask for more fuel efficient cars. All of those would be ways of reducing gas companies’ profits – but simply changing buying habits will not do anything.

He told me he didn’t care about gas. He said he cared about animals. So today we are going to go read about the rain forest and find something he can do for the rain forest.

Kids are never too little to be interested in causes, to participate in causes, and find a cause they care about. Evidently, they are never too young to listen in on dinner conversations and ask questions that make you spend an hour explaining things.

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