My husband and I are constantly struggling to get our children to realize how lucky they are to be living in the U.S. Prior to moving here, we spent five years living in China and traveling Asia, where we saw extreme poverty and witnessed many of the issues that children in developing countries face.
Needless to say, upon our return to the U.S., our three girls quickly put the problems of the world on the back burner as they adjusted to a much easier life back in the U.S. And despite my husband's occasional (and ignored) threats that their summer vacation may include an internship working at a Chinese brick factory if they misbehave, their biggest worry is whose turn it is to do the dishes that night rather than the larger issues of the world about which we would like them to be thinking.
And it has remained that way with us striving to teach them that third-world problems are very different from the first-world problems we experience here.
Many parents experience this issue and look for ways to educate their kids about the world around them. Last night, I had an "Aha!" moment as I was screening the new film, Girl Rising.
As I watched and learned about how access to an education changed the lives of nine girls, I asked my girls to come watch. All three were mesmerized. The nine stories of girls from around the world striving for an education are tragic and poignant, but the candidness and sincerity speaks to all ages. Meryl Streep smartly articulates,"This film gives visual corroboration to knowledge we already have." For anyone who doesn't comprehend how lucky we are to have access to an education, the pictorial detail here provides it.
So, if you too, struggle with "I don't want to go to school" and "why do I have to do my homework?", I recommend a date with your offspring to see Girl Rising. The stories are the perfect foundation for a discussion about the world we live in and the extraordinarily privileged lives we lead. Girl Rising will broadcast on CNN later in June, but is available on demand on the big screens starting today. The proceeds from the ticket sales are being donated to the campaign, so this date to the movies will also provide an opportunity for your children to help with the cause and know that their efforts have a payoff, which is a lesson well learned for all of us.