Here is how to teach children about compassion
We all hear and see things that make us think ‘oh, that’s too bad’ or ‘how sad’ or ‘I wish I could help’. So what’s stopping you? Reaching out to those in need is the surest way to pass on the qualities of compassion and humility to your children.
Passing these qualities to our children is essential if we hope to leave them with a world and society that is safe and socially conscious (at least somewhat).
How to teach a child empathy
Monkey see, monkey do. Children learn what they live. Do to others what you want them to do to you. I could go on and on with similar phrases and they would all be true. If you want your child to be compassionate and humble, you have to be that way yourself. These qualities need to be a part of who you are, though, not just what you do when it’s convenient or out of obligation. It needs to come from the heart.
Of course there are the obvious things you do…
- Donate clothing to a family who has lot their home in a fire
- Donate food and toys to families in need during the holidays
- Mowing the lawn for an elderly neighbor who can’t maneuver the mower any longer
- Donating money to charities
But what else can you do? What are some things you and your child can do to instill a sense of compassion in their hearts and minds?
- Send cards to elderly family members on a regular basis just to let them know you are thinking of them
- Share your garden produce with others
- Pass along coupons to other moms in the grocery store
- Offer to give another family with small children a night of free babysitting now and then
- Visit local nursing homes to visit and take cookies
- Hold a yard sale and give all or part of the proceeds to a favorite cause or charity
- Pick up trash in your neighborhood
- Invite a few people who don’t have family in the area to celebrate the holidays and birthdays (including theirs) with you and your family
- Purchase extra school supplies and ask the school to give them to children in need
- Pass on your child’s outgrown clothes to someone in need or a shelter for the homeless
- Allow your child the opportunity to interact with children with special needs or from different cultures. Encourage your child to develop friendships with these children to gain an understanding that different isn’t bad. It’s just different.
The fact that I’m even including a ‘why’ in this tells me there’s sadly a reason to do so.
We have, in large part, become a society of selfishness and one that shuns anything different or that makes us the least bit uncomfortable. Shame on us!
We miss out on so much by not broadening our horizons to include people of different cultures, economic backgrounds and social backgrounds from ourselves. We also fail to live up to our responsibility to make this world a better place when we refuse to interact with it.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past that racial interaction was not only frowned upon, but not even allowed. Thankfully those days are past. Don’t let your children see any remnants of such attitudes. Those days are better left to be studied in their history books.