"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."- Leonardo da Vinci
A few weeks ago, something my son did, gave me pause. His cousin had hurt herself, and was crying, but he was completely unimpressed, concerned with continuing the game he was playing.
It made me wonder. Is compassion something you are born with? Is it something that can be taught? To be honest I was bothered by the fact that he did not go up to her to check if she was all right, to try and comfort her.
In speaking to my friends that also have kids the same age, I was given examples of children reacting the same way, but also of children that are very concerned with the well-being of others. I probably over-analyzed the situation, but I could not let it go.
So my husband and I spoke about this subject at length, and decided that even tough some people may be more sensitive to the needs of others, this sort of attitude is certainly something that can be taught. But how to approach this subject with a 5-year old child?
The perfect opportunity presented itself to us, when my husband was approached by a work-colleague who is a spokesperson for "Samaritan's Purse". It is a wonderful organization with multiple initiatives. One of which focuses on providing kids all around the world with some joy around the holidays.
We chose to fill 2 boxes one for a boy, and another for a girl. We explained to Aidan that not all kids are as fortunate as he is, that oftentimes parents are unable to give their children everything they need, no matter how hard they try.
Then, this weekend we went shopping and involved him in the choices, and I was glad to see that he was into it, asking questions and maybe even pondering this newly learned information. I have always talked about how important family traditions are to me, and I think we have found a new one. We plan on packing these boxes each year, to make Aidan a part of the process and make sure that he learns to be loving, considerate and compassionate.
How about you? Any such traditions in your family? Have you ever had your child react in a way that has made you wonder about values and how to teach them? I would be curious to know!