I have such a busy schedule, there really is not enough hours in the day for me. So many times a day, I brush my children away “mommy’s busy, baby” and I feel eternally guilty about it. If I’m lucky enough in the moment, I realize what I just did, and I get to rectify the situation by taking a few breaths, and a few minutes, to listen to what is ailing my child, and I can try to help.
With everything going on in our lives, I find it difficult to find the time to teach basic fundamentals to my boys, such as empathy, generosity, kindness, etc. I mean, they know basic rules, manners, politeness, and all that, but to really get down to the nitty gritty, and give them the explanations that they need in order to really understand why being empathetic and generous is the best way to live their lives.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Which means that you are putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, really feeling what they must be feeling in their current situation.
Knowing how to do this will inevitably lead to kindness, generosity, and compassion. When you can truly feel the hurt that someone else is feeling, you want to prevent, and stop, the hurt from spreading. You spread goodness and joy instead.
That is why it’s important to teach our children empathy at a young age, and to truly make sure that they understand. It’s not easy to do, even for adults.
TIPS FOR TEACHING EMPATHY
An article at Huffpost lists these tips below:
- Teach them about emotions. …
- Read and watch TV together. … explain the situations and the feelings that are being displayed.
- After conflicts, discuss what everyone was feeling. …discuss why they are happy, sad, hurt, etc.
- Let them see you resolve conflicts in your own life. …explain conflicts that you are experiencing currently, and explain how you are going to resolve them, explain your actions, and how they will help the situation.
- Speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. This is something that my Dad used to teach my sisters and I…to help those who cannot help themselves. Protect the weak. Speak up. It is a valuable lesson, and one that I will also be passing down to my boys.
TIPS FOR TEACHING GENEROSITY
As you can see – these tips from Babycenter.com go hand in hand with teaching empathy.
- Demonstrate generosity. …lead by example. Remember your children will inevitably follow in your footsteps and they will mimic the actions that you have demonstrated in your life.
- Discuss other people’s wants and needs. …teach them that others have needs that they may be able to fill.
- Teach your preschooler that sharing can be temporary. …
- Show that you disapprove of selfishness. …punish selfishness and greed. Let them know that it’s not a good way to live.
- Pile on the praise. …praise generosity!
- Set some toys aside. …donate as much as you can and include your children.
- Let your preschooler learn from her peers. …
- Look for the reasons behind her stinginess. Look for reasons why your child may be holding on to their items so fiercely. There may be an underlying reason for their need to hold on to their things. A control issue, etc.
Empathy really is the pathway to generosity, kindness, and compassion. We all want our children to live good lives, be good people, and be fulfilled in their hearts and their minds. We can open doors to all kinds of opportunities for goodness when we start by teaching empathy.