We talk a lot about taking action in the PYP. We all have contributed to the donation drives, fundraisers and last year we ate a lot of popcorn for Student Council’s fund raiser. The students over the years have contributed to the Bangkok and Thailand community in many creative ways.
What does it look like when Primary students take action? What action or service is sustainable and meaningful?
It is pretty easy to recognize a problem and organize a donation box. Donate the funds or goods and we feel better about ourselves, right? We did a good deed now we can go about our days feeling like we helped society. But did that donation have a lasting effect? Was it meaningful? Did it really change things?
Find a way for children to become more connected to the people they are trying to help. If they want to donate books to a Thai school, have them visit the school. Choose a school nearby that they can have several visits with. The more I reflect on service and taking action, I believe that the lasting change from taking action is best when the action is within a longer term relationship. For instance, you might donate 1 million baht to an orphanage. You just raise the money do a bank transfer and you are done. OR you could donate one hour of your time per week reading books to children at a shelter or orphanage. You would get to know the children by name, you could find out the needs of the community and establish an ongoing connection with the agency. Which of these makes more of an impact on the people you are serving and on yourself?
Action and service can have the potential to change the lives of others. It also has an impact on the person taking the action. The most meaningful action leads to more action. Does a bake sale inspire the action taker to continue to support the cause? What about ongoing visits to a refugee shelter where you teach the people how to find and cook with local food items?
So what is holding us back? I believe that our comfort zones play a big part in this type of meaningful action. We sure feel safe doing a bank transfer. But actually visiting, connecting with people in need often forces us out of our comfort zone. How do children learn to do this? By watching their parents.
So I challenge you, as your child journeys through the PYP, reflect on the type of action you take, the type your children take. Is it as meaningful as it could be?
Ideas for volunteer and service, are these a one time opportunity? Is there a way to make things go to a more meaningful level?