"Of course!" you might say. But think again, it's only natural to a certain degree and the degree of compassion that each person has seems to differ a lot. That's because although all humans are capable of compassion, it is a character trait that needs to be nurtured, practiced and focused in the appropriate directions in order for it to be beneficial.
Look at each of your children or other friends and family members. Do some seem more compassionate than others? Do some of the people you know have compassion in some situations or toward some people, but not others? In many ways our understanding and
level of compassion is automatically learned through our experiences in life, which are interpreted by our personality. Your family, culture, religious & political beliefs, experiences and personality all contribute to the type and degree of compassion you will develop.
It's important then as parents to be aware of how these influences are affecting our children, and how we might help them in the development of their compassionate heart. Of course, how parents express compassion toward their children and others will have a big impact, but that might not be all that is needed.
Your child is constantly interpreting everything they see and experience according to their immature perspective. Children tend to feel more comfortable with others who see things the same way they do because immaturity attracts likeness, this is where peer pressure comes from. It takes a very mature person to stand apart from the crowd. For this reason, they need to hear a more mature perspective and experience the value of being compassionate in a broad range of circumstances.
Some Tips For Nurturing Compassion:
- Listen to your child's experiences with compassion toward your child.
- When there's a conflict between 2 children, non-judgmentally introduce the other child's perspective to each of them.
- When you have a conflict with your child let them know that you understand their needs or problem, but also calmly explain your own needs or circumstances in that situation.
- Showing compassion toward animals and nature is a great place to start with kids, because they are naturally sympathetic in this area.
- Involve your kids in acts of kindness toward the elderly, the sick, the poor and the heartbroken members of your family and community.
- As your kids are growing up, continue to discuss non-judgmentally issues relating to compassion, personal responsibility, ethics, morals & values.
- Your child will go through many phases while growing up and at times may seem to not care about others, have patience with them, but don't compromise your standards.
Compassion facilitates peace within ourselves, in society, and in the world. Compassion gives people an opportunity to find solutions for problems rather than create conflict. Compassion nurtures understanding and mutual respect regardless of differing viewpoints. Regardless of what your child's personality type is, the development of a compassionate heart will help them mature, add depth to their relationships, and help them navigate peacefully in a world that can be conflict ridden.
Has this been helpful? Feel free to leave your comments.