The future's bright... if my boys have anything to do with it.
Today we went to a family event organised by my Mum at a Sikh temple. The boys wore their special indian clothes, covered their heads and took off their shoes. They've been before so they know how to show respect and what to do, but today Brown Bear did something extra special. He saw other family members serving food in the langar hall (where Sikhs offer free food to anyone who visits the temple) and asked if he could help. He went to wash his hands and came back to help serve food. I cannot tell you how proud me and Hubbie are of our boy.
My boy serving food at the Gurdwara
I've been thinking about the things we do that fit in with the Unilever Brighter Futures initiative and then today he did this wonderful selfless thing. Like a lot of parents we want our chidren to have a positive impact on the world they live in so we try to lead by example.
I take the boys with me when I make donations to the food bank - they help choose the food items and I talk to them honestly about how important it is to help others. This is also why they understand the concept of langar is such a fundamental in our society as it's about caring for others.
We went through Brown Bear's clothes the other week as he had so many new ones for his birthday and chose which ones to hand down to Blue Bear and which ones could be given to other children who could use them. I was surprised at how once he understood what was going to happen to this clothes Brown Bear was so willing to part with things he has loved so much. Knowing another child might like to wear a nice t-shirt made him all the more keen to give it away.
I enourage the boys to be kind and helpful to others and we have a great relationship with our neighbours. Jill has been living on her own since her husband died a few years ago and the boys have adopted her as a 'spare grannie' (her chosen epithet, I promise you !) As well as being a fantastic helper to me she's also a great influence on the children and they often go to see her to keep her company. It is important to me that this intergenerational friendship is part of our family life. There is something magical about how much it means to Jill to have small children in her life again. Equally seeing how considerate my boys are to her and that they think about asking her over for a tea and a play is just lovely.
In the reasearch that Unilever did for their brighter futures initiative they found out that six out of ten parents say they have started to live in a ‘greener’ way at home at the suggestion of their children. Actually we have always been pretty green, but now that my boys realise that there is an environmental benefit to the things we do they are more inclined to do them too. Most of the things we do are instinctive:
We save water - I won't let it go to waste at all - if there is water left undrunk it gets reused for plants around the house.
I have trained the entire family to turn off the taps when brushing teeth to save water - it's a small, but effective action.
We have a special waterproof timer for the shower so that there is no lingering and the boys love to try and beat the timer.
We collect rainwater in a waterbutt and it gets used for plants in the garden in the drier months.
We don't let anything go to waste. Any and all packaging is reused. From boxes that go to pre-school to the parcel contents such as bubble wrap, shredded paper and even packing peanuts (those polystyrene things that cannot be recycled) get used for art and play projects at school.
Finally I like my boys to be part of the community and to understand that this means doing for others. That is why today was so special. Being from two different cultural backgrounds can be a lot for children to take on so for my boy to embrace the Sikh values in our family is really special to me.
We're raising our boys to make a postive contribution to society - again this is best demonstrated by what they see us doing. I am a trustee of an inclusive dance charity and the boys support the work we do by joining in fundraisers such as the annual Ceilidh. Disabled and non-disabled dancers who take part in our projects come along and we get to do something inclusive, fun and raise funds at the same time.
I honestly believe that we are contributing to a brighter future. Not least as when Blue Bear came to join our family it was a big learning curve for us all. I'll be posting all this week about adoption and it's special place in our hearts so I hope that you will join me to find out more.
This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever