As a parent and teacher, I know that creating empathy in children (especially as they grow into teenagers) is not the easiest thing to do. Some children that are generous by nature when young, may become possessive and clingy later on; others seem to have self-centerdness invade as they grow. However, this is all the natural development of a child as he or she discovers himself and self-identity is explored.
However, that doesn’t mean we quit trying to reinforce the necessity of helping others, and this time of year presents a wonderful opportunity for children to “have to” give a little. By modeling to children that sharing and giving is the right thing to do, that helping others also ultimately helps ourselves, then little by little, they will internalize this. The Marine Corps Toys for Tots provides an excellent springboard for this lesson.
Park Maitland School recently teamed with some local businesses to help drive a hugely successful toy drive. Parents and teachers spent time discussing helping those less fortunate and how the students could make another child happy on Christmas day.
This is a concrete example that almost all children easily understand without much teaching: Toy = Happiness.
The Top 5 applauds all the schools in the area who are busy teaching Central Florida’s children more than just letters and numbers, but are teaching them to become responsible, serving citizens… awesome!