Sharing has to be taughtWeAJa - the community flea market and swap meet for charity hosted by the JoongAng Ilbo - offered a valuable lesson in sharing to adults and kids alike in the major cities of Seoul, Busan, Daejon, and Jeonju, North Jeolla. Over 360,000 citizens took part in practicing goodwill and neighborly love.
The market offered a valuable educational opportunity for young students to learn the value of sharing. Children came hand in hand with their parents with their toys, dolls, and clothes to sell and raise funds to help the needy. They naturally learned and experienced the joy of sharing.
Sharing is taught rather than something you are naturally born with. It is important to experience charity and volunteering activities from a young age. The government and ruling Grand National Party are planning to include charity examples and stories of philanthropists in elementary school textbooks.
Recently deceased Kim Wu-su, a deliveryman for a Chinese restaurant, warmed many hearts with his story of donating part of his meager earnings to charity.
Singer Kim Jang-hoon, a newly recognized icon of charity and humanitarianism, doesn’t own a house and donates from his show business earnings to help needy people in society.
Famous foreign philanthropists like Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, will also be cited in the textbook. As in other advanced societies, youth will be learning the importance of sharing and charity starting in elementary school.
Sharing comes from the heart’s desire to relieve pain and understand others. It extends beyond material donations by nurturing the character and mind to live with others in a community. Therefore, teaching sharing helps in personality development. It should be a required course in schooling. The earlier the learning, the better the effect will be. If began at an early age, one would grow up with sharing as second nature.
Individual donations are scarce in our country compared with other advanced societies. A Korean donates 199,000 won ($173) on average a year, just one-seventh of what Americans donate and one-third of what the British give. Donations in religious groups account for 80 percent of individual donations.
Early education can be a good start to expand the tradition of individual donations and sharing. We hope community charity fairs and education in sharing will contribute to building a compassionate society.