Posts tagged compassion

Teaching Respect, as an Action Verb

Over the course of the last month, I have been talking with my students about Respect and how we show respect to ourselves, to others, to property, to all living things, and to our Earth. We don’t just talk about the word ‘Respect’ as a vague virtue, but rather we apply ‘Respect’ as an action verb, consistently planning and practicing real-world ways that young people can show respect on a daily basis.
Yesterday, I challenged my third graders to think about something in their world for which they want to raise awareness and respect (saving animals, cleaning oceans, curing cancer, etc.) and to think of ways to take actions to support this cause. I reminded these amazing kiddos how their small acts can be powerful when it comes to making changes and helping the world around them.

Imagine how my heart overflowed when a parent sent me these three photos of her son and the lemonade stand he held right after school, complete with the poster he made in my class, to raise money to cure cancer. (Permission granted to share photos).
Kids are amazing change-makers!

The Role of Compassion in Stopping Bullying


My heart is heavy after reading this story about Ashlynn Conner, a 10-year old child who hung herself.  According to her parents, Ashlynn was relentlessly bullied in school.|htmlws-main-bb|dl3|sec1_lnk3|112386


I always wonder about the bully and what motivates someone to be relentlessly cruel.  I ache for kids like Ashlynn who are hopeless, and see no light at the end of the tunnel.  And I think about all of the other kids in her world who knew about the aggression she was facing. 

Even having written a book on the subject, I don’t pretend to have any simple answers about how to stop bullying.  It’s a complicated problem and intervention has to occur on multiple levels.  That’s jargon for: we’ve got a LOT of work to do!  What I do know, though, is that fostering compassion is one of the most important missing links when it comes to creating a climate in which bullying becomes unacceptable.

In this recent HuffingtonPost article, I wrote about 7 ways that parents and nurturing adults can help kids become more compassionate.  I think it’s a mistake to assume that kids are either compassionate or they’re not.  Big hearts can be nurtured and compassionate kids hold a critically important key in creating cultures where bullying is not tolerated.

Whenever I talk with groups of kids about bullying, I share this mantra: It is never OK to do nothing about bullying. I have kids repeat the phrase.  I encourage them to shout it.  Sometimes, we see if the whole building can hear us!  I want kids to remember this truism.

Today, after reading Ashlynn’s story, another set of words–this time from Albert Einstein–are echoing in my head:

“The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”    

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