I’m trying not to get overwhelmed by the fear and pessimism swirling around me because of news on ISIS, Ebola and climate change– three things on my mind now.
The monstrous acts of terrorism ISIS is doing makes me go back to the idea (or is it a fantasy?) that we should make it a priority to create kind, compassionate, and caring kids to be the next generation to stop this madness.
I hope I am raising my kids with these qualities.
My almost 9 year-old son came home from school the other day and when I asked him how the new kids in the class were doing, he said one of the kids was really shy and kept looking at his feet.
Me: “So what are you doing about it?”
Son: (shrugging his shoulders) I don’t know. He’s not really making an effort to get to know anyone.
Me: I wonder what he must be thinking, being in a new school, not knowing anyone and not having any friends. Do you think that might be hard for him?
We didn’t get very far with the conversation, but I am hoping I planted in him the seeds of an idea, that maybe he could take it upon himself to be compassionate with this new classmate. I’ll have to check in with him soon about that.
Recently, his teacher shared with me something that he said in class:
“We were talking about class pets and [my son's] comment was that we should include the other class somehow. He pointed out how we also have the loft [the kids can climb up here to read or have quiet time] and the other class does not, and that it wouldn’t be fair if we had both a pet and the loft. I thought this comment was a really nice example of how empathetic [my son] is and how he really sees things from another perspective.”
That really made my day.
A friend shared this article, which really lays it out nicely: 5 ways to raise your kids to be kind and some practical tips for how we can do this. But what got me was this finding from a study:
“The interviewees [youth] were also three times more likely to agree that ‘My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.'”
There’s something wrong with that. If we are not teaching our kids to be caring people, but rather focused on success and achievement, what does this mean for this generation’s future?
“The topic of compassion is not at all religious business; it is important to know it is human business, it is a question of human survival.” — Dalai Lama