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"Why do we help strangers?"
At a Glance
Habits formed at a young age can stay with us for a lifetime. Cultivate the inclination to help others by helping your child identify a cause to contribute to, and discover the joy of making a difference.
This sets off a positive cycle: giving brings happiness, and happiness encourages giving.
Your 7 – 12-year old
It will take:
Printed “Causes” activity sheet, pencil & eraser
Why it’s important to lend a hand to people in need.
The different ways he/she can help make our society better.
The fulfillment that comes from helping others and making a difference.
Search online for stories about issues aﬀecting our society – such as the current global pandemic, ongoing environmental degradation and more. Use this as an opportunity to start a conversation with your child about the vulnerable groups which exist because of these issues.
Explain why it’s important to try and make things better (for example: a cleaner, greener world or a more vibrant, inclusive society). Ask your child if he/she wants to help.
Step 1: Identify Causes
Help your child identify 1 or 2 causes he/she would like to contribute to. Then list them in the “Causes” activity sheet. Try to choose causes that fit with your child’s interests: if he/she loves animals, you may suggest animal rights or conservation efforts.
Step 2: Find Organisations
Search online for organisations working for those causes. List 2 or 3 organisations for each cause in the same activity sheet, along with what your child can do to contribute.
Step 3: Decide How to Help
Agree on 1 or 2 things your child will do, and a date to start.
For your child to better understand the difference he/she can make in the community, we suggest for him/her to start with contributions that have more tangible and immediate impact.
For instance, volunteering (at a soup kitchen or beach clean-up) shows immediate and obvious results as compared to donating to medical research which could be explored subsequently.
* Source: “Why We Cooperate” by Dr. Michael Tomasello, Developmental Psychologist, Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology