Everything around us tells us to be “…unique individuals, to be proud of ourselves, and pursue our affinities…” at school, through pop culture, through marketing campaigns, and through many top influential companies and individuals. Likewise, the focus on individual community responsibility and environmental stewardship should receive as much attention by our little stars. Our children need to learn the importance of being heroes in their communities and being taught that they have a role to play in helping others in need. Islam teaches us the rights orphans, women, and the needy have over us. The Sunnah and the Quran weave the importance of charity into many forms of worship. How do we nurture a sense of onus of social, spiritual, environmental, and community responsibilities for our children?
Social responsibility is set up differently in corporate companies than in our daily lives. In the business world, social responsibility means acknowledging and taking responsibility for the produced commodities and ensuring they don’t harm the surrounding environment. However, to us as individuals, it’s about taking action that supports our intentions to sustainably develop the areas we live in.
It is our responsibility to not only keep our surroundings clean but uplift each other and give back to our communities to ensure we develop in a way that spreads awareness and maintains social responsibility as a culture. We can do it in several ways:
Allah, The Most Generous, talks about charity many times and ways in the Quran. Time is one of the most critical assets each of us can utilize. If we, as parents, engage our children in consciously allocating time to helping those in need, we can direct and reinforce the value of community responsibilities. By volunteering together, we can take care of our social and spiritual obligations while spending quality time with our kids.
Any organizations that support a good cause like feeding the less fortunate, helping the elderly, or orphanages allow you to do your part to help out and be more socially responsible. You’ll find that it might be more therapeutic and fulfilling when you participate in activities that help build your community, so check out your local charities too!
2. Giving back
We know as Muslims that wealth comes from Allah (AWJ), and we offer a portion back to His creations in service or charity that is due from us. Giving back doesn’t mean just giving money, but any access or any service our hands and bodies can offer in addition to caring for our responsibilities.
“Those who spend their wealth in charity day and night, secretly and openly—their reward is with their Lord, and there will be no fear for them, nor will they grieve” (2:274)
Another time Allah says the reward is with Him is when we fast in Ramadan. Imagine the place giving has with Allah, our Creator who accepts so many forms of worship…giving being one of them. What we can impart to our children is helping them separate their “assets” such as toys, clothing, and any gift money into two parts: to keep for themselves or to give away. Starting this early, in primary school or even younger in toddler years, parents can shift the mentality of children into always knowing they should give away a portion of their “wealth.”
Although you can volunteer for organizations and events, if you cannot spare time, you can help donate to a cause that will change someone else’s life. Giving back can be done in various forms. You can purchase products from a local business within your neighborhood rather than imported products. You can also give back by donating to charitable causes or organizations involving your community.
Discussions play a critical role in a developing child. Along with what activities we do with our children, after a day of activity, parents have to slow down and allow kids to process their experiences and thoughts. We live in such a hyper world; it’s one thing to the next and a constant need for consumption! Let us break from that and settle down, or even schedule time to slow our roll – to reflect. Allotting time to reflection, thought, and discussion builds habits in children about being mindful of their activities and monitoring their motivations. Being responsible for their wellbeing, families, and communities can help foster a sense of responsibility that will not be an oppressive concept for them later in life.
Many immigrant families, who shift abroad, have the burden of financially supporting multiple family members and are also involved in giving back to their respective communities. Many of them barreled through challenges in life the next generation is not aware of. Now, new generations fall into mental health crises and anxiety or mental, social, and spiritual health issues because they have difficulty managing many challenges. How do we prepare our children to be strong, conscious, healthy adults and members of society? – begin with giving.
Bond with your children by giving back, doing chores, or running errands for the elderly; sit down with your kids and reach out to family members you have not had a chance to connect with. Discuss with them how to best offer solutions in their community, engage with neighbors, and find out how to build community together. If you are not as social or an introvert, it’s ok! Share with your little one the value of doing something together, like picking simple and accessible forms of charity such as cleaning your park or clearing the street of a fallen branch.
Action is essential, but so is awareness. It’s necessary to spread the word about how social responsibility plays a role in the world’s sustainability. It teaches children to grow up with good habits, strong respect for their surroundings, and a love for the community they belong to.
The best part about social responsibility is that it’s done in various forms and hardly costs too much. The world your children are planning to grow up in depends on how you treat the world you live in now. We should not only aim to keep the earth clean and green but also build our various communities and, in turn, be heroes for the world. It’s upon us to invest in uplifting each other.
We have amazing charity groups we love working with, become their hero today:
Help those living in poverty feel human again by supporting them with aid, shelter, education and mentorship: https://www.thenoorproject.org/
Lend a helping hand to refugees: https://mozaicdmv.org/
Each charity on Launchgood is incredible and filled with good values: https://www.launchgood.com/