June 2012 – Caring
Feeling or showing care and compassion
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?” ~Martin Luther King
“That best portion of a good man’s life: His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” ~William Wordsworth
“It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.” ~John Marks Templeton
“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. ~Denis Waitley
“Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness. ~Harold Kushner
“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.” ~Emily Dickinson
Compassion and thoughtfulness are two quality traits that everyone has and can display to people such as associates, family, friends, and strangers as well as the environment of the world. Caring is a value that any parent would like for their child to display. Even though we live in a society filled with fear and sometimes harsh environments, we can teach our children to be caring to themselves and others around them.
How to Teach Caring to Children
Everything begins at home. Being a caring parent and community member is the best teaching tool as a parent. Showing empathy and caring encourages empathy and caring in our children. This can be as simple as helping a senior citizen with their groceries, allowing someone in front of you in the grocery store line that has one item compared to your many items, or simply picking something up for someone. Other random acts of kindness can be demonstrated to our children to encourage the joy of caring for others.
While it is hard to conduct ourselves as perfectly as we would like with work, bills, responsibilities, obligations and children, we sometimes get lost in the maze of life. Sometimes we just don’t want to read a book, or take the kids to activity after activity, if you have felt this way you’d be no different than thousands of other parents out there. As much as possible, spending quality time with your children will create an atmosphere that encourages children to feel loved, needed, and cared for, which will ultimately be a quality they will easily display to others.
Sharing is more than just a great quality—it really shows that we care for others. Young children may have a tougher time sharing with others, especially if they are accustomed to playing alone. To encourage sharing, start with the understanding that we are all sharing ourselves: “Mom shares with you all the wonderful things in life and it feels so nice to share with you, don’t you want to share your toys with others and see your friends play happily?”
Main points to address:
- Model caring behavior
- Spend quality time with your child.
- Encourage sharing.
A one-on-one talk with children can change more things in a child’s life than anything else. Think of how special this has made you feel in the past when your role model or mentor took the time to listen to you and help guide you through various topics. Ask your children how they feel about others (the homeless, other students, senior citizens, etc.) and listen closely to their thoughts and feelings. Model your thoughts around their responses: “I also feel terribly for people who don’t have homes, do you think there is anything we can do to help them?”
If you feel there is something you can do, the next step may actually be volunteering at homeless shelters, charity events, or other community-based organizations. Allow your child to feel as though this was their idea (unless it really was their idea!) and congratulate them on caring enough to take action. Many people can feel badly; it’s those who take action that can change the world. Let them know that they are one of those people who can and do ultimately change the world.
However, we don’t have to stop with the homeless shelters, what about your local community? Did a new neighbor move in? Do you know a senior living alone? If so, make an effort to welcome that new neighbor with a welcome package, make sure they know the area or have information about community resources or other information you have found helpful when you first moved in. Take a meal to that senior living alone and make sure they have someone taking them to the store or their doctor’s appointments. If not, normally a transportation unit is designated for seniors. On the other hand, you can contact local resource centers to see if there are services that can help seniors in need. You and your child can also get involved with neighborhood events and charity drives locally.
Main points to address:
- Volunteer at local charities and/or events.
- Talk to children about caring.
- Help neighbors and get involved with neighborhood events.
Books to share with your children about caring:
- Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
- Miss Maggie by Cynthia Rylant
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- Now One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie dePaola
- The Wolf’s Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasca