By Rachel Wells
Compassion is a character trait that I think we all hope our children possess. We know the importance of learning academics, but equally important is the need for students to be taught skills which will help foster their growth in character education.
Understanding compassion – being able to care for others, can be demonstrated in ways both big and small.
Compassion as part of after school help can be shown by simply asking others about their day or feelings, making eye contact, being a good listener, opening a door for someone, acknowledging the kindness of a stranger, or by asking someone if they need anything.
If you are looking for ways to be a little more hands on with your child after school, help others in need by trying some community service together. There are actually many ways children learn about and show compassion to people in need in your area.
Children can show compassion by:
Our children are always looking at us. When the adults in a child’s life show compassion towards others, they are likely to do the same. Make it a point to say nice things to your child during their after school art program so your child will understand how good it feels to be told something nice. Say “hi” or “how are you?” to a stranger or cashier at a store.
Your child will begin to understand how much hearing nice words can affect someone’s day in a positive way. Before long your child will no doubt be inspired and able to imagine just how much of an impact they can make in their world. Before, during, and after school, help those around you by using compassionate words and actions, and your children will begin to do the same.
If you are looking to take things one step further, check out the website www.compassiongames.org. Simply register on the website and submit “compassion reports” to share all the different ways your child was able to show compassion before, during or after school, help and support others in the community, or donate time, energy, or money. This is a fun challenge to see how many acts of kindness your child can add to the global total.
On this website you can also pull up “compassion maps”, and see all of the ways other children have shown compassion and kindness as well, which may inspire your child to show compassion in ways that hadn’t thought of before. Compassionate kids are happier, have more friends, and are emotionally connected to those around them – I think that is something we all want our children to feel.