How Do We Bring Our Kids into Compassion?

How do we bring our kids into compassion? How do we bring people into our lives with compassion? I was talking with one of my clients earlier, and we were talking about how when somebody is talking about other people and bringing them down, like if there is a kid at school, maybe your child comes and talks to you about that child and says, “It’s really sad that this little boy keeps getting picked on, and you can tell Mom that something’s not right, like something is sad about that kid.” It’s just sad, like, why can’t these kids just be nice? One way to ask your child, or even encourage your child, is to ask these other kids, “If you were in that little boy’s position, what would you need? What would you need? What do you think that little boy needs or that little girl needs?”

When I was growing up, I was bullied a lot. Even though I didn’t let people see me cry. I would go to the bathroom and cry, or I would just hold it all in, and when I got home, I would cry. You could still sometimes see that I was sad, like just looking into a person’s eyes. Look at them; are they withdrawing? Do they have headphones on where they’re not listening to people? I have clients that do that as well, and they learn not to like people. But, why? because they feel like people don’t like them. So when we see people being different, what if we were able to empower our kids with powerful questions so that when they hear other kids talking about somebody or making fun of them or whatever it is, our kids have the courage to say, “What if you were that person right now? What would you need?” What that does is get us out of judgment; we cannot influence anybody while we’re judging them.

The best way that we could start our kids off now, earlier in life, instead of waiting to be adults, is to realize that judgment doesn’t have to be a part of our lives. If we start to encourage them and empower them with the right questions, we can mend this thing of hate and bring more compassion. As soon as you ask somebody, “If you were in their shoes, what would you need?” All of a sudden, we go into our own selves, and we can align with or resonate with what that person might be feeling. We would say, “What I need is a friend, or I need somebody to smile at me, or I need somebody to say hello, or I need somebody to invite me to come sit with them at lunch.” It’s really about teaching our kids the idea of compassion, and sometimes it just takes a simple question to do that.

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