According to Dictionary.com, a humanitarian is having concern for or helping to improve the welfare and happiness of people.
This a hard job for parents being that children themselves are limited in their capacity of understanding. I noticed this when talking to my son about putting together a shoebox for a child in Uganda for Christmas. When I told him that it was because there were people out there who didn't get toys because their parent's didn't have any money his response was simply, "Don't worry because Santa will give them toys."
How does a parent respond to that without ruining the idea of Santa Claus? I wasn't quite ready to crush his dream and wake him up to the fact that I stay awake until three in the morning trying to get the best deal on toys.
I explained to him that Santa gives people what they need to be happy. I told my son that since he has what he needs to keep his belly full and his bed comfy, Santa will be bringing him gifts. So Santa will be giving these people food, water, and a home because they don't have that. Our family had to be 'Santa's Helpers' and help give toys to the little boy in need.
This seemed to hold him over and he even gave up one of his own gifts to put in the shoebox. But I wonder how many other parents have this problem? Now that we're in the midsts of a modern civil rights movement, it's more important than ever to make our children culturally aware.
My child is not American with African Decent. He is not Arabic or Jewish. Even though his father is of Mexican decent, I don't believe that he'll succumb to the discrimination that the former mentioned will.
Will he even notice if a child of a different color is treated unfairly? I feel like it's a social responsibility of the modern parent to raise a generation of humanitarians.
A generation that will recognize racial, economical, and religious discrimination and have that notion inside them to make their environment a better place.
How do we achieve it? You can't expect a 5 year old to sit through presentations about social justice. You do it by example. Children are like sponges and pay attention to everything you do whether you think they're watching or not.
Whatever you put out to this world, your child is the first person to catch it. Gone are the days that you can shelter your child from the evils of the world. Not when there are shootings in elementary schools, drugs getting into the hands of 6th graders, and massacres happening more and more frequently.
The holiday season is a gateway to start discussion. I'm not saying open Pandora's Box and show them pictures of a bombing's aftermath. Maybe start with a shoebox. Start with planting something. Start by taking a walk in a city and seeing the homeless people on the street.
If we instill respect into this generation and love for their fellow man, we will leave a legacy and value in this world.