Have Kids • Will Travel | Volunteering with your children.
Volunteering with your kids is both fun and rewarding for both community and family.
Having recently become a father (well he’s 2 years old now) I understand completely about the urge to want to give your children everything they want, everything you never had whilst keeping them safe from the big, bad world. I catch myself wrapping my son in cotton wool and being overly cautious of the games he plays. This is human nature, right?
Well he and I are very fortunate. We live in a nice area just outside Bangkok city. It’s quiet, there aren’t many busy roads around us, we have very friendly and helpful neighbours and family that we can lean on for support. Sound familiar?
Well imagine being completely removed from that ‘comfort’ and placed in a rural village an hour from the nearest hospital, having to farm your own produce, raise your chickens, very intermittent mobile phone reception and virtually no internet available to you. Some will say it sounds like paradise when you take in to account the long, hard hours worked during the usual day to day rat-race in the big, developed city.
Well add to that an income of around $5-$10 per week, living in a house with one single light bulb, a semi-working fan to keep the mosquitos away and sleeping three, four or more to a single room on a mattress thinner than your lunchtime supermarket sandwich. Not so romantic anymore, huh?!
This is how many of the families we work with live every day. And you know something else, they are some of the happiest people you could ever meet. They are awake and working before the sun rises and their day ends as the sunsets. They always have a smile on their face and will lend a hand to anybody for anything at any time. Nothing is too much trouble and they will always put others before themselves. This is just their way and they truly understand the importance of helping others.
So why do I mention this when the blog is about volunteering with your own children? I’m sure at some point your kids have demanded something, be it a chocolate bar, the latest video game, to watch something on TV. I know mine has! Do they do this because ultimately they know you’ll give in to their screams, handing them the victory? It’s nothing to be ashamed of, anything for a quiet life, right? Do they do it because they know they have access to it, that they know there IS a chocolate bar in the cupboard and they’re having it? Well would they do it if they lived the lifestyle mentioned above? Or would they have a better understanding and appreciation for whatever small gift, gesture or smile is passed their way? Hmmm….interesting talking point!
We actively encourage parents to bring their kids to join any of our projects. We want these kids to see how families in poor areas cope with their daily struggles. And we would be delighted for those kids to leave us with a new found appreciation for what the parents do for them. My son, when he’s a little older mind you, will most definitely be joining up with our projects and helping those who aren’t just ‘less fortunate’ than most, but are impoverished to a point where they wonder about where the next meal is coming from.
As corny as the cliché know is, children ARE the future. They ARE the next generation of international volunteers. Who knows, in amongst the children who come and experience this with us could be the next UN chief. Wouldn’t that be something to scream about?!
*All children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian to be accepted on any of our volunteering project or tours. If a child is travelling without a direct family guardian, one of team will need to have a telephone interview with that childs parent/s and we must also receive written consent from them giving permission for their child to travel with Bamboo.
This could be you & your family: