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It’s not me, it’s we.

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09 Mar 2017

Personality attributes that we parents and teachers assumed would develop as part of the natural process are really not happening anymore. In an increasingly isolated world of video game consoles and ipads, inculcating empathy in children is becoming a task. In this post I will delve into how to bring our kids feel for others.

Teach kids the art of observation.
More than what is been said, how it is been said matters. People express more with their facial expressions, body language and tone. How do we get our kids to decode the unsaid? I had read this somewhere and it made sense – put the TV on mute and quiz kids about emotions Moana feels when she sets out on the adventure into the sea. Or, when the newly crowned Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to turn things into ice, how Anna reacts and responds.

Encourage them to name their toys
Help them communicate with their toys like real people. If need be, you could role play and respond to the child when they talk to the toy. A loving response would make the child talk softly. It would help them embrace the need for belonging and compassion with the inanimate. Let them create their own Wonderland and you be a part of it. Encourage them to express what the toy would be feeling when it accidentally gets bumped off the bed.

Find good books and read them together
The right kind of books not only make kids smarter, but also compassionate and responsive. A lot of these books would already be on the kid’s school reading list. The important part is for you to know the book well. Use the characters or episodes in the book as conversation starters. Discuss what the characters would be feeling at various points of the book.

Engage in random acts of kindness
Ingrain kindness as a habit. Make kindness part of their personality and not a selfie-moment once a year. Prepare a carton box for your kid and let them talk around and motivate their own friends to contribute old clothes and toys for donation. Let them have a constant reminder that there are less fortunate kids than them. let them count their blessings and be proactive about sharing.

It is only when the kids realise that there is a bigger world than their own, that ‘I’ is just another alphabet and not their personality, will they value the importance of ‘We’.

I hope some of you will try to practice what I have assimilated from my experience. Do share how it works out for you.