As parents we say we want to raise happy, healthy and responsible children. What is your definition of a responsible child? Does it mean to be a citizen of the world in this increasingly connected world? Does it mean putting a bucket of ice water on yourself and posting the video on Facebook as part of the ALS social media challenge? Does it mean holding a candle march for the gruesome heinous crimes against women?
For all the hashtag activism we engage in together, we must recognize the fact that we have never been more alone in our fights as citizens owing to our increasingly individualistic culture. What then are we teaching our kids about being citizens of the globe, their country, their state, their cities and their neighborhoods’?
Civic responsibility needs to make the shift from being on the periphery of our lives and the convenience of our social media lives to assume center stage as we raise kids who will truly be citizens of the world. As parents, we are our children’s primary ethicists and the civic challenges we are facing – whether it’s the polluted air in Gurgaon that we are accepting as the new normal or the lurking dangers for our children in their own schools- are all questions that our children are watching intently on how we answer.
Secondary schools in England have citizenship as a statutory subject on the National Curriculum since 2002. Singapore mandates second-generation male PRs serve National Service as Singaporeans take greater ownership in the society they want to create. My firm belief is schools too have to share in this responsibility with our parents and see the civic challenges as opportunities for building skills such as reasoning, empathy and conflict management amongst many others.
At Chalk Tree Global School, one of our foundational belief about 21st century ready children centers on building in them capacities to act together toward civic and societal problem-solving and engagement programs that are not a tick in the box in today’s complex world. As Yeats rightly said, “Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
Let’s get this fire burning bright and glorious.