“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community” Anthony J. D’Angelo
What do you do when your child tells you repeatedly that her friend has not been coming to school? Answer first before you scroll down.
A parent told me she visits her children school to ask about the welfare of their friends. She explains that once her children tell her a couple of times that they have not been seeing their friends in school or a friend wasn’t feeling well after which he/she has not been coming to school for three days or more, she accompanies the child to her class to ask about the friend’s health. She sometimes goes as far as getting the parents’ numbers so that her children could speak with their friends.
I can assure you that this is good for children’s emotional well-being. This is also a good way of teaching children to care about their peers. You may not have time like this parent to go to school but you can put a call through to the class teacher in the presence of your child to find out about their friends in the evening after work. It is a good way to entrench the value of caring for one another in children.
Parental reaction to news bothering children is crucial to their growth, development and personality. Children are naturally concerned when they stopped seeing loved ones ,so when parents take steps such as this and make them talk to their friends, they are reassured that all is truly well. Whereas, if your reaction is that of ‘ I couldn’t care less, I can’t be bothered, I am busy, etc.’ You are also teaching them something, but something negative. This may affect their perspective and perception of caring about others.
Having said this, we must realize that the above is not an avenue to pry into other people’s lives. The call should be kept simple e.g. “Good evening ma’am. My name is Nike. I am Moni’s mom. Moni is in the same class with Clara, your daughter. Moni said Clara has not been in school for a few days and she will like to speak with her. Hope she is okay?” Immediately after her response, if the child is sick, you can reassure the mom that all will be all right without over doing it. After this, put your child on the phone. Note that you can follow up if you like, but don’t ask too many questions as if you are digging for information. If you don’t want to speak, you could write a text message and show the response to your child.
The above is not the only way to teach children about caring. Teach them about sharing and how to use kind words. By this, you are contributing your quota towards making the world a better place by raising loving, thoughtful and compassionate individuals. Teaching children to care is an invaluable lesson that is rewarding because to care is to love. Don’t just say to your children ‘I care about what concern you’, it means nothing until you prove it with your actions.
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