At World Relief, it’s in our DNA to stand with the vulnerable. With school back in session and all of the dynamics that come along with this season, how do we teach our kids to stand with the vulnerable?
This week, as many children in America start a new school year, I can’t help but think of the thousands of immigrant and refugee children starting the academic year at a new school, in a new country, learning a new language and adjusting to a new culture with the hopes of making new friends.
These kids may be scared, excited, happy, sad or—at times—all of the above. But, like all kids, they mostly want to feel included and welcomed in their new environment.
As a parent myself, the start of the school year always proves to be chaotic as we go from a free-for-all summer, to trying to assemble some sort of routine that will carry us through the day—from the morning mayhem to the afternoon witching hours of homework, hungry bellies, and dinner—before doing it all over again in Groundhog Day-like fashion.
As caregivers, we want the kids in our lives to do their best in school. We also want to raise children who help the world be a better place. And as engaged parents, even during this chaotic season, we can do this. We can envision our children to help those around them who may be vulnerable, so that their school is an environment where they and their peers can experience hope, confidence, possibility, growth and opportunity.
At World Relief, we talk a lot about standing with the vulnerable. In kid language, I would define a vulnerable person at school as someone that is being picked on or left out.
Amidst the chaos of a new school year, how do we help our kids think bigger than themselves as we try to raise global citizens? We pause the whirlwind—if only for a brief moment—to circle the wagons over dinner or pre-bedtime routines, to engage in intentional conversations with our kids. We help them understand how to identify a peer that may be vulnerable, and ask them if they’ve noticed anyone in their classroom or school who seemed vulnerable today. We ask how they can help make their classroom or school an environment where they and their peers can experience hope, confidence, possibility, growth and opportunity.
We know life is busy. So to help, we’ve created a free, downloadable, ready-to-print coloring page that we hope serves as a conversation starter for you and your kids. Together, we can help our kids not only be more aware and welcoming to the thousands of kids new to school in America, but also have the courage to stand with anyone who is vulnerable by simply being kind to them.
Who knows? Maybe plopping a few coloring pages and crayons on the table before dinner will help turn the after-school chaos into a meaningful evening, if only for a few moments.
I’m going to try this at our dinner table tonight.*
*Provided there isn’t too much homework.