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Teaching children compassion

Zachary hurried into the kitchen. “Mom, can I take some lemonade out to Mr. Smith? He’s cleaning his driveway, and I think he’s thirsty.”

Mom pulled a batch of cookies out of the oven. She was going to give the warm treat to a lady who fell on the ice and broke her shoulder.

“Do you think he’ll want cold lemonade?” asked Mom.

“I’m sure he’ll love it,” said Zachary.

Mom smiled. “Then take him a cup.”

Zachary poured a glass and hurried out the door with an iced drink sloshing out onto his mittens.

This wise mother fostered Zachary’s compassionate nature. She allowed him to help in his four-year-old way. Cold lemonade isn’t the drink of choice for a mid-winter day, but Mom didn’t discourage Zachary.

Of course Mr. Smith was delighted with his lemonade and gave Zachary a hug and great big smile of thanks.

What was Mom doing to foster compassion in Zachary?

1. She modeled compassionate behavior.

2. She allowed Zachary to choose his service.

3. She encouraged his kind behavior.

Children learn social behaviors as we teach them. What else can parents do to promote compassion?

Talk about helping others.

Discuss situations when someone might feel sad or hurt or even angry.

When children disagree with each other, have them to tell you how their antagonist might feel.

Let children know when you feel sad. If they hurt your feelings, let them know.

Ask kids to find someone in their school or neighborhood where they might offer service.

Find family projects that give to others.

Teach children to get outside themselves and think of others. We are all of the human race. May we exist together in love.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
? Mother Teresa

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Christy Monson established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her books, Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen, and Becoming Free: A Woman’s Guide To Internal Strength are publ… Read More


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