Art offers powerful opportunities to express our common humanity, challenge assumptions, spark conversation, connect diverse people, inspire wonder, imagine new solutions, and promote action for positive change. Music, dance, the visual arts, film, theater, and writing can also inspire empathy, which is why they have always played a role in social justice movements; art shifts the way people think about the world.
We implore our kids to study hard, to get good grades – and we spend considerable time and money to assure they're enjoying their lives. But we don't talk nearly as much about what caring and compassion mean to us – or help them strengthen those empathy muscles by performing acts of kindness and service with them. Luckily, with a few simple changes, your family can help make this school year one that is focused not just on academics, but also on concern for others.
Children as young as four feel better when they receive a sincere apology from a playmate after being hurt. The key word: sincere. Coercing children into offering apologies fails to comfort the victim -- and the wrongdoer learns little more than how to feign remorse. Here are a few tips for getting beyond the begrudging "I'm sorry." This approach can cultivate empathy, help children learn to manage emotions, and improve behavior.
Think of all the ways our homes reflect consumer culture: overflowing toy boxes, jam-packed drawers, gadget-filled garages. Unfortunately, too much focus on material possessions damages our well-being – and that of our children. … The message being delivered to our kids is that consumer goods bring happiness. As parents, we have the power to counter and control this. Here's how…
Hate the commercialism of Valentine's Day but want to embrace messages of love, kindness, and generosity? We've got simple ideas to make this day that celebrates love more special than ever.
Myths and stereotypes about groups of people can be enormously damaging — both to individuals and to society. They can make us wary of others, and cause us to make inaccurate and destructive judgments about people's capabilities. If we are stereotyped, it can undermine our belief in ourselves. Here are a few of those damaging (and erroneous) assumptions -- with tips on how to provide children with a counter narrative.
Teaching our children to care for the earth is integral to teaching compassion. And as future generations work to combat climate change, the planet's health will be front and center in our children's lives. How to get started? We offer some small, fun ways your family can learn to become earth advocates.
Some parents choose not to acknowledge what their children are noticing, wanting to signal that they are "colorblind" or don't "see" disabilities. These parents worry that acknowledging differences will make their children more biased. Research suggests just the opposite, however. If you are silent about differences, children are left to assume that the stereotypical (mis)representations in our culture are accurate.
So how do you discuss human variety, acknowledge discrimination and bias -- and celebrate our commonalities and our differences? Here are some important tips.
Any parent would agree: The top lessons we can teach our kids include generosity, kindness and sharing. Now we have another way for you to share the joy of kindness with your children -- a collection of products that make "giving back" fun.
You'll find ideas below and on our newly launched Shop Kind page.
Feeling gratitude is great medicine. It can inspire optimism, improve health and increase happiness. But according to Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, feelings of gratitude are often fleeting. What's more powerful is actually taking time to help others out. "Gratitude is a temporary emotion," says Grant, "but giving is a lasting value." Here are some ways to move from gratitude to giving this Thanksgiving. Because when we think of ourselves as givers, we are inspired to do more.
Halloween can conjure the same spirit of giving as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Below are six fabulous projects that let your family give back this Halloween. Any one of them can become a new family tradition that puts more meaning – and more funinto your festivities. Plus, your feeling of satisfaction will remain long after your stash of candy corn is gone.
Many parents feel compelled to provide their kids with "ideal" childhoods. They try to create a world in which children are constantly entertained, rescued from unpleasant situations, and handed whatever they want in order to assure their continual happiness.
But children who grow up getting their every desire miss out on the joy of giving, the sense of accomplishment that comes with effort, and the resilience that develops when we are forced to bounce back from disappointments.
This roundup of tips will not only challenge entitlement and nurture compassion, but ultimately also will make our children happier and more successful – and in turn make the world a better place.
Play is a critical way to acquire knowledge, build imagination, enhance mental and physical health, and practice social skills. Just as important, research indicates that play can help children develop empathy and compassion.
To praise or not to praise? I wouldn't blame parents for being confused. We've been getting lots of messages about praising children, many of them seemingly contradictory. If you don't praise your kids, they'll lack self-esteem!
Studies suggest that curious personalities are associated with humor, playfulness, life satisfaction, good relationships and open-mindedness. Not surprisingly, curiosity also encourages life-long learning. (Some studies even indicate that curiosity, along with hard work, might be as important as intelligence to academic performance.) Another reason to encourage curiosity is that it's deeply intertwined with kindness and empathy. Here are ways to nurture curiosity in your children while teaching them compassion at the same time.
All parents want their children to be happy. But too often we misdirect our energies as we try to ensure our children will lead blissful, fulfilled lives. Despite a spate of recent research, it's still not clear what "happiness" is, much less how to guarantee it for ourselves or our kids. Here's what you should and shouldn't do to raise a contented kid.
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.
Kindness and courage are common topics in this newsletter, but failure deserves attention, too. I agree with researchers that accepting failure can lead to growth. And when parents view failure as an opportunity to be embraced rather than something to be avoided, kids will be more willing to take on new challenges and will develop the strength to cope. Here are strategies for helping you and your kids meet any disappointments that come your way.
Emily Post, the queen of etiquette, famously said: "Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use." At their core, manners are simply about caring for others. Teaching good manners requires patience, persistence and practice, but it's worth the effort.