My new favorite pop culture word – “Philanthro-kids”. By definition they are kids or teens (“pilanthro-teens”) that have a love of humanity and partake in ”private initiatives, for public good, focusing on quality of life “.
Why aren’t we talking about this? Where is the coverage on these kids and why this is an emerging trend? Clearly we know enough about the rise in drug, alcohol, violence and promiscuity in kids and teens these days but where are the news reporters and writers when it comes to this topic? We need something to drive our youth’s focus towards the positive and this should be it- every day- all the time until it spreads like wildfire.
Since they won’t talk about it, I will.
I am by no means a fan of Miley Cyrus – BUT – she did something interesting at the VMA Awards last weekend. Instead of accepting her award for Best Music Video, she instead sent up a young man by the name of Jesse to accept her award on the behalf of the “1.6 million runaways and homeless youth”. Jesse was homeless, lived in shelters and was using his experiences on the world’s stage to create awareness. Now, this quite possibly might be yet another grand gesture of her PR people and a creation of Miley to gain more media attention and hype. The hope is this is not the case – but nevertheless people listened, newscasters reported and now people are donating to the cause on her website. Just like that. Couldn’t it be the same type of coverage on these kids – sometimes under the age of 10 -doing amazing things?
Though not a young adult, Aaron Paul, did something similar at the Emmy Awards announcing his wife’s non-profit, “Kind Campaign”, an organization that focuses on diminishing “girl on girl crime” or what I would call “the mean girl syndrome” that is now starting younger than we care to acknowledge. By him taking this public opportunity to announce this kindness project for young girls it crashed his wife’s website in minutes.
Although I don’t watch much television I was told about Aaron Paul’s acceptance speech by a reporter in Missouri who called me for an interview for her piece on how to teach your kids kindness. One of her questions was “why have you chosen your non-profit to be directed towards young kids”. My answer was, “Because I can, and they are so powerful in numbers”.
There is a huge rise in kids that are using their time and money to form organizations and events that they care about. In the opinion of the experts this is because these kids have just watched their parents struggle through a recession. They have looked around and thought, “What’s the point of working only to be laid off and not appreciated for all your contributions? I want a life with purpose”. Their world and the global problems that are starting to fall closer to home are now affecting them in a way to where they want to contribute to the greater good and not focus only on the $100,000 car and designer clothes.
*there is now a recognition by our youth that personal success is not just about money, but also charity and contributing to society in a positive way. They are starting to see that money is not what brings happiness and many times in their homes has brought them the exact opposite. Because of this, they want their path to be radically different.
The great thing about the shift is that it isn’t just about donating money or volunteering but rather the idea of participating and engaging in something greater than yourself. As I have said before it has been proven time and time again that the #1 influence on genuine, lasting happiness is acts of kindness and knowing you are part of something larger than yourself. It’s such a simple, tangible concept.
So, what do we do with this information? Exactly what ISP is hoping you will do. Engage your kids in charity, awareness, good deeds and more importantly teach them why these things enhance our lives as well as others. Take them with you while you volunteer, make every day crafts and play dates into something worthwhile. Have your teen pick one charity that they want to work with on a consistent basis, once a week for an entire school year. Show them these sites and stories and why these kids that are starting their own projects and getting involved are being celebrated.
We as adults have a unique opportunity to provide preventive health care for our kids and today’s youth’s character and emotional well-being. By putting time and effort into teaching these things to them now will save us time, money, heartache, and possibly lives down the road. With this trend on the rise we need to promote it and keep talking about it. Our youth has so much power right now between their passion for a positive change in the world combined with social media and crowdfunding opportunities. That’s what ISP is here for. Please ask us to help get involved in your kids schools and spread the word about this resource. It’s time everyone knows the term “philanthro-kids” and encourages more to join the trend to make this term commonplace.