Volunteering abroad as a family can help shape your child's future. Immersing yourself in a new culture away from privilege can bring about invaluable lessons. You coerce your family to work together, share ideas and experiences, that will hold your bonds together through any sort of circumstance you may encounter.
1. Give your kids perspective. Volunteering abroad helps produce socially-conscious children who are more willing to contribute to society. Immersing your child into a world less materialistic than their own can help them understand that having an iPad in the classroom is a luxury or why spaying and neutering your pets helps prevent seeing starving homeless dogs and cats in the streets.
2. Engage in your child's passion and interest. Finding a project that suits your family is essential. Being outside of your comfort zone can be difficult for anyone, especially a child. Having a shared interest makes immersing your children into the volunteering experience much easier. Is your child an animal-lover? Choose an animal care project. Does your child love art? Participate in a community art project that'll help cement a connection with the local community. Is your kid an outdoors kid who likes gardening, bugs, or being in the woods? Join a conservation project. Choose a project where your kid could thrive.
3. Create a hands-on way to teach. Not only do we want to give our children the best education possible, we also want to instill specific values in our children. Volunteering abroad helps teach them compassion, collective responsibility, tolerance, and flexibility. Volunteering as a family inspires a cooperative work ethic, where they can begin to understand how far they can go when working as a team.
4. Have your kids gain self-confidence. Volunteering abroad often places you and your family in a completely new situation. Learning how to deal, live, and behave in a new environment is just part of the package. As your grow more comfortable in a place, so does your child. They don't see obstacles as hurdles anymore, but rather as stepping stones. Your child sees things in a new light, thinking of new, original solutions to common problems. They deal with unpredictability better, being able to adapt as they go. All the sudden, that little thing you brought into the world, is taking it by storm, blazing trails, while standing on their own teeth with a voice of their own.
5. Create memories. Remember that time when a horse farted in your dad's face? Remember trying to play charades with our host-family? Remember how we felt so connected with each other and the environment while we volunteered with elephants? Remember how your younger sister cried when she saw where she was staying, only to cry because she didn't want to leave? Those are just some of the stories you'll reminisce about years down the road. But creating memories isn't just about creating stories. Your children will remember how you cared for others. They'll remember how you took them to a place where they could grow as people. And when your gone, and they're still here, they'll talk about you with compassion, remember adventure, and stand on their own two feet, because they saw how you did it while trying to be a good person.