Talking to our students and children about subjects that may seem difficult for them to understand is an important concept in starting early. I have found that the subjects that I was not sure was really getting through to the students would come back later, with them speaking of them with authority.
A couple of months ago we talked about ‘CHARITY’. Days, weeks and now months later our students are still finding ways to demonstrate that they understand the concept of charity. Here is a student and his younger brother who have taken charity seriously and brought in their shoes that they have outgrown for Souls 4 Soles.
Souls 4 Soles is an organization that collects shoes for those millions of individuals around the world that do not have them. Some of the shoes are slightly used, some are brand new and supplied by manufacturers from around the world. Balanced Life Skills started our relationship with them through the efforts of Brian Williams and the Think Kindness organization.
Along with Balanced Life Skills, several high schools from the area have supplied over $10,000.00 to help pay for the delivery of shoes around the world along with over 10,000 pairs of shoes. Teaching our children young to be concerned about their neighbors in the world, and to grow in their desire to give to those in need.
As I discussed sportsmanship with our classes one thing came up that I found very interesting. Sportsmanship is very much like empathy. When we look at what we do through the eyes of others, when we put ourselves in their shoes we know immediately if what we are doing demonstrates sportsmanship.
I know that when I think about who I like to compete with it is those that don’t complain if they lose or gloat when they win. They don’t yell at me if I make a mistake, and they don’t make fun of me. They won’t push me and always try to make things fair. Now if they are the things that make me feel good about playing with someone, then I want to be sure to do the same for them. (that is empathy)
This is a great time to teach our children about empathy using sports or games. They can see and feel it and that experience will have the greatest impact on them.
Have you ever noticed how many times people are so focused on their own needs, wants and feelings that there is very little time or effort spent on how others might be feeling. Last month we talked about being open-minded and accepting the differences of each other, and what better way of doing this than to be aware of the needs of others as we make decisions. To do so effectively we must understand the feelings of other persons.
Some have put it this way, “We must climb inside the other person”, “Walk in their shoes”, to really be able to respond to situations in a way that is empathetic. The very first step in this process is to be able to read and understand people’s feelings. This calls for taking the time to listen and observe body language, gestures, tone of voice and other observations to help us understanding the other person.
The step of listening is so important in this observing. Not just hearing but ‘deep listening’ , observing where they are coming from and why they be taking the stand that they are taking. Of course asking good questions and listening closely to the answer without pre-judging or thinking we know the answer is the first key step in being motivated to respond to the needs of others.
How good are you at understanding? If you were to rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 where would you be at this point, and more important – what could you do that would increase the score? This month lets consider this together and see if we can raise our awareness in ourselves and in those around us.