Hugh Jackman Says His 'Ridiculously Blessed' Kids Have a 'Responsibility' to 'Help Others'
Ask Hugh Jackman about the greatest life lesson he’s teaching his kids, and he has a quick answer.
“My kids have so many advantages,” the 49-year-old Greatest Showman star tells PEOPLE. “And I want them to know that they have a responsibility to use those advantages to help others.”
Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness, 62, often count their blessings with their two kids, Oscar, 18, and Ava, 12. “My kids are constantly reminded about how lucky we are in our family,” Jackman says. “We’re ridiculously blessed. We live in a beautiful home in places that other people dream of.”
“But in terms of the world, we’re even more blessed,” he continues. “One out of six people doesn’t have clean drinking water. They can’t comprehend how we live.”
Jackman learned this lesson firsthand when he visited Ethiopia and met a young coffee farmer named Dukale. Inspired by Dukale’s struggle to survive, Jackman founded Laughing Man Coffee. Since its inception, the brand — which uses the tagline “Make Every Cup Count” — has donated a large portion of sales to the Laughing Man Foundation, which supports coffee farming communities and programs by ensuring fair trade.
“Dukale was just barely surviving over the line,” Jackman tells PEOPLE. “And I was inspired by him. I wanted to help.”
In addition to helping others, Jackman says that he’s trying to pattern the right behavior for Oscar and Ava. “I want to lead my kids by example when it comes to charity,” he says.
“Their poverty is something we can fix; that’s something we can feel,” the actor adds. “You have to feel something to fix it. You can’t just talk about the world’s problems occasionally and think, ‘Oh, it would be good to help.’ To really change the world, you have to feel it.”
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According to Jackman, he learned the same lesson when he was a child. “I was brought up with parents who both did volunteer work and community work,” he says. “They gave back. After my father retired, he donated his services as an accountant to developing nations for three years. So it always felt normal to me to give back. I want it to feel normal for my kids.”
Jackman says it doesn’t matter if his kids give back locally or around the world. “The more we can see the world as a whole, and the less as ‘your team, my team,’ the better we will be,” he explains.
“I am ridiculously blessed,” Jackson says. “I don’t need any more money. I’m totally good. So if I can use whatever power I have now to share with others, that’s my hope. And I want my kids to be with me every step of the way.”