Beyond "Please" and "Thank You"

Beyond Please and Thank You

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November  2016
Concerned with what it saw as a precipitous decline in empathy, Sesame Street Workshop commissioned a study, K is for Kind, to examine the issue. Among other things, the researchers found that both parents (70%) and teachers (86%) felt that "the world is an unkind place for children." However, we were heartened to learn that a large majority of both groups believed that raising kind children is critical, rating it as even more important than academic success.
But here's the problem: While most parents believe they are raising kind, empathetic children, only one-third of teachers agree with this. This disconnect suggests that parents may not be sharing the kindness message with their children as effectively as they believe. One possible explanation: Parents put manners before empathy, suggesting that they may be focusing on "please" and "thank you" rather than on the skills necessary to grow compassion. Below are tips for brushing up on those skills.

-Jenny Friedman, Executive Director

Make a Difference.....

Roots of Compassion DGT
Of course, good manners matter. However, kindness goes much deeper--and is ultimately more significant--than things like writing thank-you notes or keeping elbows off the table. I have written often about empathy-building parenting, and here's a review:

Talk about It.....
Perhaps more than anything, empathy flows from meaningful conversations. Enjoy having "big talks" with your children, always keeping in mind that it's more important to listen than to talk. Read our ideas for jump starting those conversations.
Each Kindness
Whenever you can, emphasize how much kindness and "doing for others" means to you. Say things like: "The most important thing to me is that you are thoughtful and caring." "Our family treats others with kindness." "Kindness is more important to me than good grades." 

Learn about It..... 

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Ages 5-8). Unlike most children's books, this award-winning story does not have a happy ending. When Chloe and her friends reject new girl Maya, Chloe learns a valuable lesson about accepting people. She also discovers the regret of missing an opportunity to share kindness.
"We don't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts."

 -Pema Chodron, American author and Tibetan Buddhist
Family Service Day
Family Volunteer Day
Usher in the season with some hands-on helping!
Please join me at our annual community Family Service Fair on Friday evening, November 18, 5:00-7:30pm, at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. You'll do simple service projects, see the fun of giving back, and learn about other opportunities to volunteer as a family. We've invited a great group of nonprofits to offer kid-friendly service activities for your family to complete, such as creating toys for orphaned cats and making stress balls for children in crisis. This free event is made possible by generationOn with support from The Walt Disney Company. (Up to 1.5 hours of free parking is available at the Midtown Exchange Parking ramp with validation.)

The holiday season sneaks up on us whether we're ready or not! Plan ahead with these 12 timely tips for holiday volunteering this winter. There are many ways to bring the lessons of kindness and service home during this season of giving.
Doing Good Together is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization that provides information and support to help people raise compassionate and socially conscious children through family volunteerism.

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