Sometimes the best role models for kids are…other kids! I stumbled upon these two amazing young girls on the planet along the way so far. And, I’m curious to see what inspiring kids of all ages in the world that you’d add — let’s make a list!
1) Maddy in the USA
Hurricane Sandy came in and scooped up homes, businesses, boardwalks and even a beloved roller coaster and whipped them all into the sea. Many around the world watched footage of people in the aftermath who lost so much. One child in Florida, USA watched a video of a woman on the news from New Jersey who said she didn’t even have any dry socks. Like that, an idea was born…
Maddy is a 10-year old girl who instantly started laying plans for a sock drive for her home state of New Jersey. She had a meeting with her school’s principal, who allowed her to put a box she created in her school for sock donations. Over 600 pairs later, Maddy shipped three large boxes of socks up to New Jersey where they were sent to the children and adults who needed them most after Sandy!
Born a 25 week old micro preemie, Maddy lost her twin sister, Emily, just days after birth. She keeps the memory of her sister alive by advocating for micro preemie hats for Neonatal Intensive Care Units in local hospitals. She and her mother also founded “Emily’s Angels” for this very reason. Maddy is no stranger to social good, and will be accepting a “Do The Right Thing” award from her local police office in Florida this March.
I like the idea of a little girl rallying a community behind her to help others. We have never met Maddy, but we are connected to her family through Facebook. Her story and pictures are definitely shared with my little girls. It is inspiring for them (and me!) to see a young girl setting such a great example.
TIP: Is there a kid up to “good” or that exudes self confidence in your local or online community? Be on the look out and share stories of neat things that older kids are doing with your children!
2.) Bindi Irwin in Australia
My daughters and I know her best from the “Bindi the Jungle Girl” series that was made in 2007 and later played in the United States. Bindi, now 14-years old, but closer to 7 or 8-years old when the series was made, is brave and she breaks stereotypes — who says girls can’t be made of snakes and puppy dog tails? Or snake skin or kookaburra wings? If you’re looking for pink and princesses, then this isn’t your show. As a young naturalist, Bindi exudes self-confidence around wildlife and adults on the show, and she champions conservation.
Hosted from a tree house, Bindi introduces kids to wildlife all around the world on land and under oceans through her own expeditions and lots of footage of her dad, Steve Irwin, the late “Crocodile Hunter.” They cover everything from mealworms, what many of their resident reptiles eat, to the great blue whale, the largest animal on the planet that is bigger than the dinosaurs. The songs and dancing are also a hit with my girls, who are 5 and 2-years old, too.
Due to station changes in the U.S., “Bindi the Jungle Girl” was taken off the air shortly after we found it several years ago. My oldest daughter so looked forward to the show that I wound up ordering some episodes from the series on DVD from the Australia Zoo. Best thing we did because it’s years later and now both girls still watch and learn from them.
For example, on a recent family trip to the Caribbean island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, my now 5-year old daughter spent hours snorkeling among tropical fish and made it her goal to swim with the sea turtles. I could see Bindi in her eyes as she pointed out new animals she found and the excitement with which she explained everything she discovered. Maybe that’s an understatement. She made EVERYTHING she discovered into a learning experience for us, similar to the enthusiasm in which Bindi explains wildlife on her show. That connection to the non-human world around us is so important, and I feel that being introduced to Bindi has deepened that for her.
The excitement that the Irwin family has for wildlife is “out of this world”, and anyway I can capture it and spread it with my girls — I’ll take it! Bindi is a great role model for this connection with nature in symphony with getting out into nature whenever we can.
TIP: Be on the look out for inspiring children in television or in books, especially in the areas of interest to your children!
Who are your favorite child role models for kids? Someone from your community? Someone from media or a book? Help me add to my list — boys and girls of all ages!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Jennifer Burden of NJ, USA. She wrote this post on her own accord from the heart and was not asked or paid to feature the children or programs featured in this post. She just likes them!