5 Ways To Cultivate Compassion With Your Kids
by Charlotte Hollander MindShift
Who wouldn’t want to know that compassion is the secret to a heart filled with joy and contentment? Compassion’s core truth is truth. It does not lie. It is just as objective and uncomplicated as any other truth, and its placement in the human heart — the root of the dream for a meaningful life — means it’s the truth of your being. When you feel a surge of compassion after consuming a negative thought, it isn’t because your brain is experiencing a positive reaction to something good.
In fact, it is because your brain is communicating with your heart. Compassion is not about judging other people, feelings, or feelings. It is more about recognizing and responding to the truth of your own heart. When your heart feels compassion, your brain becomes aware that you feel compassion for your own feelings. This is the beautiful function of our brains — connecting our body, mind, and spirit. It is a unity that is different from the politics, guilt, and rivalry that is the current state of humanity. When we love, our hearts open to love, and when our hearts open to love, we become resilient to criticism, fear, and envy. Our heart is intimate, nonjudgmental, and open to open-hearted people. This isn’t because we like to be at the mercy of their words; we like to respond to their word with truth. When we feel compassion for another, we feel it because we value their life. And the harder we strive to perceive something positive, the more we are vulnerable to negativity.
Our understanding of compassion has reached a tipping point. Nurture it, nurture it, nurture it, and you will naturally cultivate compassion. And doing so can elevate and promote true authentic expression of yourself.
Here are five ways you can cultivate compassion with your kids:
• Share. Spend time with your kids so they can see you as a caring person. Allow them to understand how someone in your sphere is feeling and share that you understand too. Don’t treat kids as reasons to cheer for the group or the group to be better than you. Your son or daughter needs to learn to feel compassion for you because you feel compassion for them. He or she may not necessarily realize what he or she needs to feel to cope in challenging times, but his or her heart will expand when he or she can listen to and understand how you respond to your own feelings and thoughts.
• Make it personal. Ask questions. Explain why what you are feeling isn’t right and then give examples of how to process it. How can you share or show compassion when it’s not in everyone’s best interest? Ask your child if they want to talk about the issues as a family or in a less combative way. If the question isn’t answered right away, ask again. But be patient if he or she isn’t ready.
• Share. Interrupt when you see that someone is intentionally trying to stir up negativity and then say: “Stop!” Stop right there if your child wants to spend some quality time together rather than talking about nasty things. But instead, share with him or her something you admire about their resilience in a similar situation or talk about something that reminds you of kindness in this world. Your child will also feel protected, respected, and loved if you stop negative talk now.
• Create an environment of compassion. Compassion shows up in your homes through food that is safe, food that nourishes, and compassion that warms. The things that make you feel good are also what make you listen to others. Watch the movies you and your child enjoy together — the ones that warm your heart. Treat your kids to a healthy meal. Be affectionate and loving to them throughout the day.
Excerpted from Charlotte Hollander MindShift, © 2019.