Depending on the age of the child, understanding the feelings of others may be difficult, if only due to developmental reasons. A five year old has one emotional ability and a 12 year old another. One thing though that does happen is that when they are angry no matter there age or training – they will be blinded to someone else’s feelings.
Developing this empathy will help them to understand that all of us have feelings and just as we react to how others treat us, we too can react to how others feel. Some children though who have had painful lives, may defend themselves by shutting down their sensitivity to others. Or they may use intimidation and fear as a part of their defense.
Teaching empathy is a two fold. First every child needs to understand feelings and they need adults around them whom they can trust. With our younger children, increasing their “feelings vocabulary”, is very important to them identifying both their own and others feelings.
If we find older children are having difficulty with understanding the feelings of others, encourage them to write down stories in a journal. If they have a problem get them to write or or talk about what happened – from the other persons point a view.
Finally as a parent or teacher, describing our own experiences and the emotions that we feel can be very helpful. They can identify that you have faced difficult situations or may still be dealing with them, and they will learn to empathize.
Showing respect for the environment is a larger part of our conversations these days, as we face higher prices for oil, food and many of the items we have seen as commodities. Aldo Leopold, the author of A Sand County Almanac wrote; “we abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
How do you believe we can make the biggest difference? What might be the results if we don’t make changes in the way we treat the earth and environment that we live as a part of a community.
I know I have said this before, one of my biggest concerns is that we do not just react to the situation that we have at hand until we think it is fixed. I believe that our whole way of thinking including not believing we are entitled to anything we can pay for, and not doing things for the environment because it is popular or out of fear. I do believe that we can make a difference in the world when we mindfully act based on love and respect for the environment, our communities, and ourselves.
What can you do today that shows more respect for the world?
I have been giving a lot of thought to the place that we find ourselves, with increase pressure from the economy and the price of gasoline and all the other pressures that we feel environmentally. I have noted before that when we approach any challenge or problem we should do so out of love and not out of fear or anger.
It is because of those thoughts that I believe it is the time as never before to look at living our lives with more simplicity. At the end of the day, it is never the things that we have accumulated that make the difference in our lives, but rather the ability to recognize the small miracles that happen around us every day and our ability to share them with others and especially our family.
Maybe the time has come to pay attention to our lives and insist on them being less cluttered, and ultimately less stressful. Simplifying may be the answer. All the things we gather really are just props, simplicity allows us to be us and to see and love the things that are really important.
How do you feel about this subject? click on comments at the top and let me know.