By Kimberly Paulk, Senior Connector at SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits
This headline in The Atlantic stopped me in my tracks last week: “Why Kids Care More About Achievement Than Helping Others.” Apparently, researchers at Harvard have found that kids value attributes like caring and fairness less than they do achievement.
This is bad for several reasons. For one thing, as the article points out studies show our kids’ “ability to feel for others affects their health, wealth and authentic happiness,” among other things. So if we want happy, successful kids, we need to raise empathetic, caring kids.
We as parents carry the burden of responsibility for making this happen. And we need to do more than simply talk about compassion and caring – we need to demonstrate it.
Because I’m an optimist, I actually think many parents already do demonstrate these qualities for their children. There are so many ways to accomplish this, and I’ve seen many moms and dads with both creative and practical approaches to this very issue.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be complicated. Demonstrating kindness can happen through something as simple as helping an elderly neighbor pull out a heavy trash can, or it can be as elaborate as running a hot chocolate stand every Christmas Eve to raise money for charity.
If you read this column regularly, you know that at SHARE we’ve got some suggestions for you too. Login and search our Collection of Good for kid-friendly opportunities. If you need some help, email us. We love this kind of thing.
But maybe you’ve already got this covered. If so, we would also love to hear how you demonstrate kindness as a learning experience for your kids. Or – how your kids have taught you about demonstrating kindness! Comment below or connect with us on social media (if you’re into hashtags, use #sharekindness). We’ll look forward to it!