Teaching Compassion to and Learning Compassion from a Young Child

"<yoastmark“Mama, wait!” my three-year-old called as we were leaving the park, “There’s a worm on the sidewalk and I must save him.”  My son did his best to gently pick up the worm (it took three tries to get the worm securely onto his palm), then explained to it that worms need dirt to survive so he was going to relocate the worm to the nearby grassy area.  He moved it, told the worm goodbye, and we were on our way again.


In our house we often talk about kindness.  Our one big rule for our boys is that they need to be kind to each other.  When my kids argue or fuss or fight, we always come back to the touchstone of whether or not their words or actions were kind and loving.


In a broader political context, we talked about kindness and caring for our fellow citizens when we discussed election matters with our boys.


In everyday life, we talk about caring for those around us, both the people we know and love as well as those we don’t know.  My 7-year-old is always ready with a granola bar, or similar, to give to anyone asking for help (Several street corners that we drive past regularly are frequented by people with signs asking for assistance).  We believe everyone is deserving of love and compassion, whether we know them or not.


Together we care for our neighbors and friends when they need help, and they care for us.  Our extended community always comes together when someone is in need.


This love and compassion is my hope, and it is my heart.  When I see my boys’ actions embody that core value, even in the smallest of ways, it fills my heart with joy.


As we walked away from the park, my son commented, “Mama, we should always stop to help when we can.”  You’re absolutely right, my sweet child, we should always help when we can.  Thank you for reminding me of that great truth.

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