Tara Teng, former Miss World Canada, is a force of nature.
Since winning Miss World Canada in 2012, Tara has been fighting gender-based violence and human trafficking. And not just fighting, but actually creating real waves of change.
Tara has been directly involved in getting new laws passed in Canada that help to protect those affected by human trafficking, and has established Canada’s first Municipal Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
She was named Canada’s “Woman of the Year” in 2011, named one of the Globe and Mail’s “Top 25 Most Transformational Canadians,” and has received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal as recognition for her work to end the sexual slavery.
Tara herself seems unstoppable. But changing the world; it seems like such a massive thing. So immense and vague. Where do you even begin? Tara believes it can happen inside the four walls of your home.
A mother of one, with one on the way, Tara shares with Motherly the 5 ways she believes mothers are changing the world, right from our own living rooms—
1. Teaching compassion beyond our own life
Raising children today means raising global citizens for tomorrow. With that huge responsibility comes huge opportunity, and the ability to shape the future.
We can teach our children compassion by helping them to realize that although it may seem that some issues do not effect us directly, we are actually all connected in some way or another.
The food we eat, items we buy, things we participate in, and friends that we have, come from all over the world now. That makes our choices all the more important. In my experience, children are incredibly attuned to justice concepts of fairness and equality, understanding compassion sometimes more easily than we do. We help our son to think and act beyond himself by teaching him the importance of choices; good choices have good rewards for yourself or others while bad choices have bad consequences for yourself or others.
2. Instilling confidence
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges of motherhood is raising confident children in a cutthroat world. We must teach our children to be both strong and compassionate, to speak the truth with grace and to stick up for what is right, even when it is hard. Sometimes we do this by allowing our children the freedom to fall, take risks and when necessary, handle rejection with grace. Life will not always be kind to them, but they must learn to be kind to others in all situations. Giving our children challenges to overcome helps them to build confidence in their abilities and the experience to know what to do when they encounter difficult situations.
3. Using the lessons we have learned as mothers to better the world
Parenting is one of those life experiences that teach you a lot about yourself and your world. For me, raising my son is a daily exercise in patience, compassion and my own emotional intelligence. Learning how to communicate these things effectively to my boy or walk him through the process of calming himself down in an emotional situation, will ultimately lead him to becoming a better human being and on the flip side, is giving me greater perspective to understand where others may be coming from, in the board room, at the grocery store and at home. After all, we all benefit from a little extra patience and understanding, right?
4. Embracing diversity
This generation is more connected than ever before and traditional walls that once divided us (i.e. race, gender, spirituality) are no longer holding us back in they way they did before. Raising our children to be rainbow children, with friends that represent all backgrounds in life, is a very powerful way to help our children embrace diversity and learn from one another.
5. Modeling how to practically apply personal values
As mothers, we are one of our child’s most influential role models due to our close proximity in their lives. They watch what we say and do all day long. We teach our children how to practically apply the values we instill within them by living them out in daily situations. For example, we can teach our children to be active participants in their local communities by finding ways to involve them. Shopping local, supporting family-run businesses and donating time or efforts to local charities are all great ways to get our little people involved in the community. Over time and through intentional conversation, your kids will learn how to invest in their community and practically live out important values.