Our habit this week is compassion. Teaching this habit is probably the most effective way to rid our families and schools of bullying. Compassion cares, listens, stands up for those who can’t, and gives support to those in need.  The root of the word compassion is “passion” and passion is defined as pain. To be com-passionate is “to be with someone’s pain”. When we stop to listen, assist, and serve others in need we experience harmony in our families, schools, and community. Compassion uplifts a person in need as well as the one providing the lift. Compassion, like physical and academic skills, is something that is not fixed, but rather can be enhanced with training and practice. If we fertilize our child’s mind with compassionate ideas and provide experiences to practice this habit their brain will wire this way. Amazingly, it appears that it only takes a bit of practice (3-20 times) to develop the neuro-pathway.  Here are a few key principles for fertilizing compassion:

  • Expect help
  • Outlaw name calling
  • Point out heroes
  • Monitor media
  • Speak with good purpose

Most nightly news shows save the best stories for last by reporting on episodes of human compassion at the very end of the newscast. Watch these with your kids and have a discussion about the purpose and power of compassion. Here are a few other ideas to help teach our kids this critical habit:

  • Heart – allow your child to serve a family member who isn’t feeling well.
  • Mind – read stories about compassionate characters.
  • Body – do chores for a neighbor in need.
  • Soul – discuss times that you were on the receiving and the giving ends of compassion.

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” Nelson Mandela

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”  – Dalai Lama

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