Living a Compassionate Life
The holiday season often causes us to think of others. What is it that a loved one needs physically or emotionally during this time of year? We ask ourselves questions like, “What can I do to make another person feel the joy of the season?” Compassion involves not only recognizing the needs of others but also following through in action to meet those needs.
Over this month, the children at Stepping Stone School will have opportunities to think of others as they learn about this important character trait. They will create gifts and cards for families and friends. Teachers will encourage compassion through the stories they read as well as age-appropriate activities and games.
The following ideas are from Dr. Jim Taylor in his book, Your Children are Listening: Nine Messages They Need to Hear from You(2011) shares strategies for nurturing compassion in the lives of children.
- Live a Compassionate Life: Expressions of compassion are both obvious and subtle. Obvious acts, such as volunteering time for a worthy cause stand out in a child’s mind as an event. Subtle acts like being kind to the cashier at the grocery store teach children about the day to day actions that make up a life of compassion.
- Surround Yourself with Compassionate People: Where you live and with whom you socialize will eventually begin to impact your child’s view of the world. Keep in mind the messages your child is receiving from outside sources.
- Talk to Your Child about Compassion: Explain to your child what it means to be a compassionate person. Offer examples of what compassion looks like and talk to your child when you see it in action.
- Explore Compassion: Help your child gain a deeper understanding of compassion by reading books about compassion. Help your child to think through and consider how to make compassion a part of the way she lives her life.
- Engage Your Child in Compassionate Activities: Encourage your children to comfort one another. Work as a family to care for a community park, foster an abandoned pet, or volunteer at a special event. Talk about these experiences and about the feelings they inspire.
Compassion, Dr. Taylor goes on to state, “is the wellspring of so many other special qualities… Compassionate children are gentle, considerate, and sympathetic. They are responsive to others’ needs, helpful, and motivated to do good.”
Taylor, J. (2014, Jul 28). “5 Ways to Instill Compassion in Your Children.” Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201407/5-ways-instill-compassion-in-your-children