The holiday season brings with it the opportunity to shine a spotlight on lessons in kindness, empathy, and honesty. While we make a special effort to discuss these values during this time of year, it is equally important that they be integrated into our daily practice. Consistent reinforcement of these qualities supports young children in growing up to be adults who care about others and the common good.
The Making Caring Common project from the Harvard Graduate School of Education works to assist schools and families in doing just that. Over this holiday break, please take a moment to read the article Inspire Everyday Acts of Caring with Family Routines, which shares some practical suggestions for how to embed acts of generosity and kindness in daily life.
Also, here is a list of conversation starters to help you get started. These types of questions prompt thoughtful conversation about meaningful topics- and we as adults can be encouraging these conversations often! The frequency is critical, as “emerging research tells us that the more open and continuous our dialogue with kids, the better their skills at compassion and problem solving.”
I am thankful for the work that each of you do daily to support each child’s development and learning, and to build a caring community around them.
How can we close the gap between what adults say and what they actually seem to prioritize? The big challenge is not to convince parents and teachers that caring is important—it appears they already believe it is. The challenge is for adults to “walk the talk,” inspiring, motivating, and expecting caring and fairness in young people day to day, even at times when these values collide with children’s moment to moment happiness or achievement.