Kids are really great. When they see destruction on TV, they automatically want to reach out and help. And they still believe that they can make a difference, unlike many adults who gradually give up over time. If your kids have been watching the wildfires in Colorado on the news or following the situation online, they might be concerned for the people, the animals and the land itself. If you want to foster caring, compassionate children, give them a chance to make a difference in some small way.
The Waldo Canyon Fire has been declared the worst in Colorado history, and it is not the only fire that has ravaged Colorado in the past week. Although other historic U.S. fires have been bigger, thanks to our very connected digital world it is definitely the worst that most people have seen. Hundreds of homes, thousands of acres of land and countless trees have been destroyed. At least two people died. But there are many ways kids can help.
Donating to the displaced
Entire neighborhoods have been burned to the ground, displacing families across Colorado. Families were left with nothing more than they could quickly pack in their cars and carry out. A $5 donation might not seem like much to an adult, but it could be a lot of money to a child, and every donation counts. The Salvation Army has a website dedicated to victims of the Colorado fires, and they guarantee that 100 percent of the donations collected will be given to the victims.
Healing the Earth
Fires can be very good for forests in the long run. Many large trees survive wildfires. Some majestic evergreens even require the extreme heat of a forest fire to reproduce. But fires bring the immediate loss of much of the lush green life of the forest, and it takes time for young trees to grow back in the places for those destroyed.
Kids can help by planting a tree of their own. They don't even have to live anywhere near the fire in order for their tree to help the planet. Trees are valuable wherever they are, and planting one can be a great way for kids to give back to nature for generations to come.
Protecting your home
Last summer in the middle of drought conditions, arsonists were suspected of setting several fires around my hometown. One of the fires was in the lower pasture at my parents' home. Thankfully, a neighbor saw the fire and called the fire department, which responded quickly and extinguished the fire.
One thing kids can do to help prevent the spread of wildfires is talk to friends and neighbors about the importance of calling the fire department any time they see an unattended fire. My parents' neighbor may have saved their life. They had no idea the field was on fire and that their home was in danger.
Families should also take steps to protect their homes in case of a fire. Cleaning the gutters, removing tall grass and weeds and trimming trees can help create a perimeter that is unfriendly to spreading fires. FEMA has many more suggestions that families can use to be prepared for wildfires.
Engaging in prayer
If yours is a family of faith, you may want to include the victims of disasters like the Colorado wildfires in your prayers. Teaching your kids to pray for others, especially those beyond their circle of close family and friends, helps to build compassion for the world. If you kids have compassion, they are more likely to act on that and try to do positive things for those less fortunate.
Beyond that, if your family believes in the power or prayer ascribed in the teachings of many faiths, you will be helping to instill those spiritual values in your kids as you ask a higher power for help for those in need. And who knows what miracles may arise.
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