What is happening in our world right now with Syrian refugees is insanity.
Sad and infuriating.
Have you been following it? If you haven’t, you should.
Have you talked to your kids about it? If you haven’t, you should.
Just remember that a lot of the images are really, really disturbing.
Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I were talking about what is going on just recently, and I’ll tell you how we handled it.
It wasn’t easy. It’s a tough topic, and it’s a confusing topic. And honestly, I didn’t quite understand it all myself. But we learned. We watched. We read. We cried.
And we decided we were going to do something.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Syrian Refugees–What FAMILIES Can And Should Do NOW:
First of all, before you do anything with your kids, you need to do your homework.
Learn a little.
- Visit MercyCorps for everything you need to know about the crisis.
- Visit A Holy Experience for even more information about what’s happening.
- Read about the Future of Syria which is full of information from the UN Refugee Society.
- Visit this Wall Street Journal article for information about Aylan and his family.
Then involve your children.
My kids were speechless and moved to tears when they saw that infamous photo of sweet Aylan, the boy who drowned off the Turkish coast.
If you think your children are at an age where they can handle this heart-wrenching photo, then let them see it.
Tell them that in another part of the world, far from where you live, life is very difficult. Check out this video which gives a bit of background on the situation in Syria and let them watch it with you:
- What questions do you have?
- What are you thinking?
- Can I clarify anything?
- What did you hear him say?
- How are you feeling?
- Have you heard this information before?
- What does this remind you of?
It’s okay to admit that you, as the parent, do not have all of the answers and that you’re learning as you go. That you do not understand it all, either.
Remember that it’s one thing to hear facts and figures and another to hear personal stories.
In fact, one thing I remember learning at the AYA Summit last year was that people are more likely to remember the personal over facts and figures. It’s the personal stories that resonate. What people remember.
Check out these personal stories:
- The Washington Post has an incredible close-up of 18 refugees
- Six Syrian Refugees: close-up on what has been the hardest part of the journey
- Get to know several Syrian children who want to go to school
- Zienab’s story
- What it’s like to grow up as a refugee
- Let them see what the refugees need
It’s hard, right? So hard to see and even imagine as a parent.
So here’s what your family can do NOW.
Here’s what we’re doing now.
Though there are a million other things you can do, this is what we’re doing because this is what ‘fits’ for us:
- We’re making things. Like lemonade and pompom pets. And we’re sending the proceeds to the Karam Foundation. We will start by raising $175 to send a Syrian child to school through the #Innovate2Educate “Learn Not Earn” program. The “Learn Not Earn” program sponsors a family so that the child can go to school instead of work.
- We’re selling things we don’t need. We’re using GivingWorks on eBay. And we’re making Karam Foundation our charity.
- We’re collecting things. Like stuffed animals, blankets, toys, shoes, books (Farsi, Arabic, & Greek are requested but we don’t have these), and warm clothing for “childhood bags” and sending them to: Melinda McCostie, The Captain’s Table, Molyvos, 81108, Lesbos, Greece
- We’re signing things. Petitions that will put an end to barrel bombs and to resettle refugees in the US.
- We’re trying new things. We’re going to learn how to help refugees and people new to the US at our local resettlement office. I’m not sure what it will involve, but our home is big and our hearts are open. We’ll see what they need and see how we can help.
So now what? What is your next move?
It’s overwhelming and disturbing and sad and unbelievable. But now it’s time to do something.
Let me know what you decide. I am no expert, and like I said, I’m learning as I go here. This is just what we found in a sea of ideas and suggestions from others. My mind is open. Let me know what you think.
Share in the comments below. Share this post with your friends.
Friends, it’s time to get moving and teach our children along the way.
Check out a few other posts that may help you develop strong and healthy habits for your family:
- showing love
- be nicer than necessary notes
- show thanks for teachers and schools
- positive affirmation notes
- wait time
- surprise notes for the ‘hood
- say ‘thank you’ to everyday heroes
- my day, your day
- connect with long-distance family & friends
- holiday notes
- gem jars
- arm circles
- noticing kids
Or follow these two cool pinterest boards:
raising girls who rock the world
raising boys who rock the world
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