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What are two ways people can teach children to be more compassionate?What are two ways...

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skyler89 | Student, College Sophomore | Honors

Posted October 28, 2011 at 11:55 PM via web

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What are two ways people can teach children to be more compassionate?

What are two ways people can successfully  teach children to be more compassionate to others?

I'm having a little trouble with this question. I know caring is one way people can successfully teach children to be more compassionate, but I can't figure out two other ways?

Polite? Love? (means the samething as Caring though)

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted October 29, 2011 at 12:37 AM (Answer #1)

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The best way to teach children how to be compassionate is through modeling.  Children do what they see us do, and if we don't like how they are thinking or behaving, we usually have only ourselves to blame.  If we speak and behave compassionately, our children and students will, too.

As a corollary of this, we must model compassion in a variety of contexts, to allow children to see this as a universal value. Are we compassionate to those with disabilities?  Are we compassionate when it is inconvenient for us?  Are we patient with the elderly?  Do we give up a seat on the bus for the young mother struggling with a baby and packages?  Is the teacher compassionate with the student who is grappling with a difficult lesson?  There are so many situations in which we have the opportunity to show children how to behave.

It is my understanding that we have neurons in our brains that are referred to as "mirror" neurons.  These become activated when we see what someone else is doing.  For example, when I see a person running, there are neurons in the "running" part of my brain that get triggered, even though I am sitting still.  There is some speculation that these neurons are what allow us to be empathetic, which is, of course, necessary for us to have compassion. If this is the case, then there is a physiological basis for the importance of modeling.

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