Acts of Kindness

October 2019

Restoring humanity in a world that has been plagued with so much evil is very necessary especially for the current generation. As we look at ways to keep the children busy during this long holiday season, teaching them to be mindful of others is extremely significant. We have a breed of children who are very selfish, and they have lost the values instilled in them.

Growing up we were taught the importance of respecting our elders. We could not talk or interrupt when an older person was speaking. We were taught to give a seat to the elderly in public vehicles. When eating one could not leave the table before the elders, one was not to argue with their parents whether they were right or wrong. This helped us learn respect and the right way to live. Though times have changed, it does not mean that we forget who we are and what is expected of us and our children.

Below are simple acts of kindness that children can practice:

  1. Visiting the aged relatives in the village and helping them with chores.
  2. Visit an orphanage and help take care of vulnerable children.
  3. Visit the sick in hospital and nursing homes.
  4. Help with chores in the house, like taking care of younger children and fixing meals.
  5. Help feed the poor and engage in other charitable activities.
  6. Volunteer in an animal shelter.
  7. Get involved in activities that improve the environment like planting trees, cleaning beaches and parks.
  8. Donate clothes and other items not needed at home to the less fortunate.
  9. Spend time with kids and teach them a new activity or read to them.
  10. Be a mentor and inspire others.

Random acts of kindness help our children become responsible members of society. It teaches them to think of others before themselves. I have come across kids who answer and swear at their parents; they have no respect for the elders, and they behave like the world owes them something. The words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ does not feature in their vocabulary. These are the same children who will get into trouble at school because they keep going against school regulations. They do as they wish, and they are not afraid of the repercussions.

Engaging the children with the right activities during this period will ensure that they stay busy and stay out of trouble. The churches in our community are busy organizing youth camps and seminars as a way of pointing the teenagers in the right direction. They are taught responsible behavior and respectable ways of enjoying themselves.

After the major exams are over, which should be sometime in November, all boys who are in Class 8 will go through circumcision as a rite of passage. Before the ceremony begins, they are put in clusters and kept at a retreat center in a church for about a week. They are taught how to behave as responsible men in the future: the need for them to protect their families, to keep away from extramarital sex, to respect their elders, amongst others. After the circumcision ceremony is finished, a room is set up for them in the family compound, so they do not actually share a roof with their parents- this is a requirement the village set up but, in the city, they still share a home with their parents until they go off to college. Transition from boyhood to manhood is very important in the African culture. There is going to be a lot of celebrations in the month of December as parents celebrate their young men as they join adulthood. The hope here is that these boys can be looked upon in the future to make decisions for their families and help when the parents are old. When girls get married, they go away and belong to the man’s family. As such, the boys are expected to carry the family legacy, though that is changing too.

Let us practice acts of kindness and teach our children to do the same; we are the first book they will ever read. They learn by watching us.

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