During this pandemic, the need for empathy and compassion has been on full display. As much of the world suffers, my husband and I have the privilege of raising our 8-, 6- and 3-year-old in an environment where we don’t have to worry about where our next meal comes from, having clean clothes, or a warm bed to sleep in every night. Safety, stability and basic human needs are a privilege and I’m determined to make sure my children understand that much of the world doesn’t share these same privileges.
With this in mind, my family and I are participating in HumanKind’s Sleep Out ICT event on Saturday, April 17. I hope you’ll read on to hear more about why this event is such a great fit for families and how we can all work toward a collective goal to raise kind, philanthropic humans. For more information about HumanKind and to register, visit www.SleepOutICT.org.
Raising Kind Humans Starts with Us
It is our job as parents to lay the groundwork for our children to thrive. Yet it’s not enough to push them to get the best job or make the most money. If we want them to truly add value to the world, we must help them navigate it and everyone they meet in it with kindness. We can teach them to throw a baseball and tie their shoes, but perhaps our biggest responsibility is to teach them empathy.
It is my hope that each of my three children understand it is their duty to help create a world of love and compassion. We hope they learn these lessons at school, but ultimately it starts at home. From the time they are born and throughout their life, it is our job to not only teach them about “loving thy neighbor,” but to be an example they can emulate.
Sleep Out ICT—Helping Us Know Better and Do Better
Kids’ hearts are pure, and they are ours to mold. We may not always be prepared, or comfortable, but when our kids ask hard questions, we must use the tools available to us to answer them. Sleep Out ICT marks my family’s commitment to knowing better and doing better as we face up to some difficult issues.
Sleep Out ICT is a virtual fundraiser presented by HumanKind, and the challenge is to give up our beds for one night to raise awareness and funds for homeless services here in Wichita.
We’ve purchased a family ticket so we can enjoy the benefits of the Event Box that comes with it. Family tickets are $100 and the Event Box contains activities and surprises to make our sleep out fun, but most importantly, informative. There will be discussion guides, poverty simulators, scavenger hunts, experiments and educational games, all centered around the issue of homelessness. The Event Box also comes with a yard sign that reads “Not All Neighbors Have Homes,” which is already proudly planted in our front yard.
It is hard to know how to handle hard topics like homelessness—but the tools this event and box offer will help facilitate the conversation about homelessness with my children in an age-appropriate manner. Our hope is we will give them a safe space to have these types of uncomfortable conversations and build a foundation so they become comfortable having them.
In a year that highlighted life’s fragility, teaching our children compassion, empathy and kindness—and supporting local services like HumanKind’s—has never been more important. I hope you’ll join me in doing both by registering today at www.SleepOutICT.org.
Alexis is a Wichita native and active community volunteer who loves her family, friends, Halloween and college basketball. She is married to her high school sweetheart and mom to three kiddos, with whom she started the “We Got This Challenge” early in the pandemic to lift spirits, encourage others to support local, and raise funds for United Way. It was through this campaign she became familiar with the invaluable work of HumanKind and joined the Sleep Out ICT Committee.