Routines and preparedness are important for planning a child’s education, but, in reality, they do not always go according to plan. Children and parents must come together on core values in the between stages of life to prepare children for school. Compassion is one value that is the most valuable of all in 2011. To help a child experience and understand compassion is key.
Children do not always show compassion on the playground when someone gets hurt, or in the classroom when a classmate has trouble answering questions. As parents and teachers, it is our job to model compassion and to teach children that every individual is unique. Modeling compassion is underlined by teaching a child that every person has unique gifts, and that those gifts, whatever they may be, are given for a reason.
Too often in public schools, children are just numbers, never taught that what they have to offer as individuals is important. How elementary teachers empower students with knowledge must leave room to remember that children are still children and that each child has something worth respecting and nurturing. Children come to school with disabilities, giftedness, handicaps, language barriers and emotional and social needs that are more demanding than an “average” healthy child’s needs. Whether a child’s needs are big, small or “average,” every child should grow to understand his or her worthiness.
With so much focus on 21st-century integrated technology in classrooms and with the amount of hours children spend on computers today, lessons on basic human civility are more important now than ever before. A culture of children who rely heavily on technology is becoming dehumanized in a sense. These resources are feeding into a fast-growing culture of children who lack empathy, resourcefulness in the real world and an ability to show or understand compassion.
This school year I challenge parents who are fortunate enough to share a variety of technologies with their children to take some time out of their schedules to teach children the value of the land we walk on and the air we breathe. Nature and the people around us are what’s real when all else is gone. How prepared or resourceful will our children be in 30 years if another Hurricane Charley hits or if war breaks out in their neighborhoods? How compassionate will our children be in 30 years when unemployment still exists and poverty reaches someone in every child’s family?
In America, we are blessed with a rich land and an ability to come together to help one another. It is in our founding heritage, the Constitution and our proclamations that we are one nation under God. We must continue to enrich our children’s lives with an understanding of civility and compassion. We must teach our children strength that comes not just from knowledge but also from ingenuity, resourcefulness and hard work. In these efforts, our children will grow and prosper for the following generations. America will continue to draw people who seek refuge, love, work, liberty and prosperity.
Teaching compassion at an early age will not just help them through elementary school, but it can also help children be more prepared for middle and high school when the need for compassion exists with high stakes. High school graduation and the achievements of honors students are far more competitive today than generations ago. In a time when students are graduating with GPAs greater than 4.0 and already taking college classes in high school, the pressure to be on the forefront of high achievement status may not be for all students, nor should it. Students should respect each other’s choices with compassion and obviously within school policies and the law. School pressures are high, many classrooms are bursting at the seams and sadly a lot of students are filled with anger. Let’s teach our little ones now about compassion. It will definitely help steer them through the unknown discrepancies of school life while they learn, grow and discover how to contribute goodness to society.
Windy Evans is a Baldwin Park resident and owns EVS Orlando Tutor