A clean start in China
It was the beginning of September and we were walking on the streets of Xining in the less developed mid-west of China. We just hit the bricks when we saw many school children cleaning. They were everywhere, cleaning the street, fences, bus shelters, you name it. People in the West would that say that this is not suitable for children, but why not? I would say that children of Xining should be an example for others.
After some quick research we found out that all the older school children have to participate in this ritual at the beginning of every school year. The school children were clearly having fun. Even though it was their free Sunday, they were laughing and smiling all the time. Possibly catching up after their long holiday. It seemed like a nice way catch up and bond with your classmates outside the boring classrooms.
Although it is not in classroom it still is a great learning opportunity. Way too often, both in the West as the East, I see people not caring about the public space. People throw garbage in the streets, breaking things and so on. They think it is not their responsibility to care for the public space. What else is the government?
Well, the government cannot clean everybody’s mess and there are many more government responsibilities that need attention. Public space is for everybody and this comes with some responsibility. By cleaning the streets the youngsters learn to carry out their share. And, of course, the streets are cleaner than before!
So, we in the West, should take those children as an example. Arm the older ones with brooms, rags and soapy water. Not only can it be fun and socially useful at the beginning of the school year, it sure is a learning experience too!