The Pillar of Caring
The Pillar of Caring
The Character Counts Coalition uses the color red to symbolize the pillar of Caring.
During the months of November and December, students will be focusing on the pillar of Caring. There are two main ideas that apply to the pillar of caring.
- Concern for others: Show compassion and empathy. Be kind, loving and considerate in your actions. Be grateful for the things people do for you. Forgive the shortcomings of others. Don’t be mean or cruel to others. Be sensitive the feelings of others.
- Compassion: Children can learn that people should be considerate and caring. Instead of ignoring hurt, confusion, anger and sadness they can learn that people should reach out to one another. As Plato quoted “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle!” we can never tell what difficulties another person is facing, and your kind word or action might make all the difference.
Most trouble between people begins when someone puts down another and hurt feelings lead to bad behavior. Caring people act different; they let the little acts of kindness lift people up instead of putting them down. To resolve conflicts children need to learn that people should seek reconciliation and try to understand each other’s perspective, there are always 2 sides to the story. It is also important to learn the ability to forgive when trying to resolve conflicts. Forgiveness is an act of caring in and of itself.
- Empathy: Empathy is the ability to sense and understand the feelings of another person. It is not the same thing as feeling sorry for someone, because sometimes when we do that we are looking down on that person. It is important to work on our empathy skills. Nothing makes another person feel better than to know someone understands them.
- Charity: Be giving. Give your time, money, support and comfort to make someone’s life better. Do this without thinking of what you will get in return. Help people in need.
- Giving: Children can learn that one of life’s greatest satisfactions comes from giving to others and that each person’s talents and skills should be shared through service to others. Rather than waiting to be asked, children can look for opportunities to respond positively to the needs of other’s without the expectation of reward.
- Be thankful: It is easy to complain or long for things that we don’t have. Instead, try to be grateful for the many gifts and blessings that we do have. Be willing to share them with others. True happiness can only be found when we are truly content with what we do have. When we are thankful we feel a sense of peace with ourselves and others will want to be around us more.
“Values are like finger prints, nobody’s are exactly the same, but you leave them all over everything you do.” - Elvis Presley
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” - Aesop
“Everyone can be great because we can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You only need to have a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
KINDNESS AND CARING GROWS IN A LOVING ENVIRONMENT
- Show your love, smile often and give plenty of hugs. This helps them learn how to show warmth to others.
- Praise them for showing caring. Be specific with examples.
- Listen carefully. Pay attention to what they are saying, don’t rush or interrupt them. This helps them become good listeners.
- Give responsibilities. Having responsibility can help them feel valuable and learn to be part of a team.
- Be careful with criticism. Make clear expectations for behavior, but don’t overreact if they are unkind. Gently explain what was wrong and how they could behave differently.
The way we treat our children influences the way they treat others!
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO THINK OF OTHERS
- Identify feelings and encourage them to talk about their feelings and to think about how others might feel in different situations.
- Ask them to think about things that make other people feel good and what might make them feel bad.
- Try to help them understand how it would feel to be in another persons shoes.
SHOW YOUR CHILD THE JOY OF SHARING
- Talk about people that are less fortunate. Discuss the difference between wants and needs.
- Give thanks. Help them understand and appreciate all the gifts and blessings that they have.
- Show happiness for another’s good fortune. Help them encourage and be happy for others without being jealous that they might not have had the same experience.
- Comfort others in times of need. Help them show support to others in bad times. Help them think of examples of how they could cheer someone up.
- Help them get along with others. Help build their social skills by taking turns, cooperating with others and not always thinking “me first”.
ACTIVITIES TO DO AT HOME
- Never underestimate the power of a smile. Even if you don’t know someone, it doesn’t hurt to smile, and it can brighten someone’s day. Smiles can be very contagious too!
- Encourage and model the art of sending thank you cards when someone has given something or done something nice for you. Thank you notes are always appreciated.
- Continually review appropriate manners for different situations with your children. When they forget or don’t use the appropriate manners discuss and model for them. The more we teach and show them now the more likely they will become a permanent habit or way of life for them later. Encourage them to be polite even when the other person is not. This can be very hard to do, but a caring person does not want to lower themselves to the level of the rude person. Sometimes our polite behavior can help raise the behavior of the rude person.
- Help them to be aware of good deeds that can be done without having to be asked. If you notice something needs to be done, take the initiative and do it. These acts of kindness will be greatly appreciated.
- As a family, make a list of all the things and gifts that you have to be thankful for. When you wish for something that you don’t have or would like, follow it up with thanks for what you do have.
Prepared by K. Pappas.