A focus on global goals will actually raise wonderful global citizens. Teaching children not to think about themselves only but about their unique position in the world is critical in creating a sense of purpose. For a few days in their school, I had noticed a banner that showed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the school was focused on. I wondered if they understood what it was and could make sense of these goals.
On the ride to school, I asked both my children about the Sustainable Development goals and if they knew what they were. My younger one had not heard about them while his older sister roughly knew what they were. Right away I pulled out my phone; parenting is always about taking advantage of teachable moments. A quick google took me to the UN’s page where I read out the list of the 17 Sustainable Goals also known as the Global Goals. I encouraged them to pick one that resonates with them or that they would be interested in making a difference.
Passion and Interest
I firmly believe that our childhood interests are a guide to what we are here on earth for; and what our unique calling is. Every single baby born comes with their own mandate to succeed in life. In today’s digital world, we are truly a global village and so must be intentional about raising global citizens who care about making a difference. We are all meant to make an impact in the world just by being born. As parents, it is our role to we guide and nurture our children to be intentional about following their passion and interests.
The Global Goals
Back to the SDGs; as I read the list suddenly my son responded with excitement! His choice was Goal 7; Affordable and Clean Energy. No surprise really. He has already been showing signs of interest in clean energy. For example, he constantly asks us to get solar panels rather than spending money on buying diesel to provide electricity. I still remember the day he looked at me and asked me why we (myself and his dad) like wasting money; he wondered if we knew how solar panels work. He went on to educate me that solar power works with sunlight which we have a lot of in Nigeria. His big question was “Why don’t you get solar panels installed”?. All this said as he was transporting his sweet potato that was growing roots from being immersed in water.
The conversation on SDGs enabled him to put a name to his interest; lastly, he should me that his calculator was actually being powered by solar power. Then he wondered aloud if he could connect bulbs to the calculator and get light this way. Suddenly, I was the one wrapping up the conversation because we had arrived at school and it was time to get down from the car. Do you see parenting in action? many times we just need to create the enabling environment and encourage our children to follow their interests. If you do not use car rides to or from school to engage in constructive conversations with your child; start today. No more browsing through the Gram on the ride to school. They are perfect times to discuss anything with your children.
Trends and Global Goals
My daughter who loves the VSCO trend said perhaps her choice would be to ensure gender equality which is Goal 5. Interestingly while the VSCO girls are big on scrunchies and hydro flasks they also have a cause. How do I know? I asked my daughter what the big deal is behind this trend. See it is important as a parent to have these conversations and understand which trend(s) our children jump on and why. Not all of them are positive and some are downright dangerous.
Part of their core as VSCO girls is that they are self-aware, socially-conscious, eco-friendly and oh their laptops are always covered in cute stickers. A dedication to environmental advocacy is a common trait among those who identify as VSCO girls, buying reusable metal straws and a focus on saving the sea turtles. Saving the sea turtles is Goal 14 of the Global Goals; which is life below water. [Read: Characteristics of the 21st Century Teen]
I would say that my goals would be gender equality (Goal 5); Good Health and Well-being (Goal 3) and Partnerships to Achieve the Goal (Goal 17). The more I looked into these the more I see that you and I can make an impact in whatever way; whether big or small. Thanks to the internet and technology there are multiple resources and several ways that we can join our voices and efforts together to make a change in our local communities and globally.
How Parents Can Help
Parents can encourage their children to be part of the global goals in several ways.
. Raising global citizens does not happen overnight nor does it happen only when a child becomes an adult. We can nurture them from an early age to care about their world and own the part they have to play. #Envision2030
Children and Teens who love technology and coding can get involved by combing creativity and technology to help achieve global goals. do your :bit is a new global micro:bit challenge for children and teens. Here they can combine creativity and technology to come up with solutions for the Global Goals. For more on how to encourage your child you can get these Free Resources here. Here is a great comic for your child to understand what the globals goals are in a child-friendly way.
You could choose to teach others about global goals with lots of free training available here.
Watch the video about the first generation who want to make sure that the Global Goals applies to everyone. Everyone has a part to play.