As I watched the remarkable 9-year old boy on NBC’s Nightly News talking with such passion about why he led his classmates in their effort to raise money for the PlayPump water system for a school in Africa, I was truly blown away by his seemingly innate passion for helping others.
While I was doing research about children helping others for my last post: Children Can Help Too, I realized that this boy’s passion to make a difference could be innate, but it can also be learned. Teaching a child to have compassion involves nothing more than defining some goals, providing some structure for parenting plus implementing ideas of things to do with your children that can be incorporated in to daily life. How I wish I had these tools while rasing my children!
Here are three articles by three exceptional women who share their expertise about teaching children to want to help others or make a difference:
Karen Cammuso, PhD is a senior staff psychologist at the Bradley School, offered a presentation in 2005: Parenting Matters: Raising Children Who Want to Help Others in which she emphasizes how a parent can promote the ability of children to make choices, reason through decisions, assist a child in developing and understanding emotions, setting conditions that promote the development of empathy, teach by example and help to see themselves as part of a larger world.
Sally Sacks, a licensed psychotherapist with 20 years of counseling experience wrote a wonderful article: Teaching Kids to Make A Difference In The World offers a more down-to-earth approach for moms; providing a wonderful list of 11 things you can do with your children to instill a desire to care for others.
How To Raise a Compassionate Child written by Jane Meredith Adams for Parenting.com offers yet more ways to encourage children to help others including “promoting sweetness,enforcing rules, guiding friendships, encouraging helping others and building on their smarts”.
Let’s make the world a better place, one child at a time!