Raising a Compassionate Child

OK...so I am branching out a bit from the typical educational post because something hit me today that was a bit earth shattering!

My son plays every sport he can and tries his best.  He is never the best player on the team, but he does well, especially when he is the "older" kid on the team.  

We are in the midst of basketball season, and tonight he did something that surprised me and brought me to tears.  But I will get to that later!

When I first became a parent, I kept my nose in the latest issue of every "mommy" magazine out there.  I read about what to do with your kids, how to make your child's childhood the best ever, and what they should wear.

I read it, but I rarely followed through.  I still took time for myself.  I let my son play and work out problems on his own.  I gave him the best childhood he could have with what I felt was best for both of us.

And I didn't follow the article I read 4 times since he was born ~ How to Raise a Compassionate Child.  The ideas were always about how you can get them to be compassionate and caring starting very early in age.  You've probably read it too, and maybe you followed it, but I didn't.  I just raised him the way I was raised, and I turned out OK.

Yet, he is caring and compassionate beyond my every word!  He cares for his little sister with all of his being.  When she was sick, he got her a gift, giving up one for himself.  He cares about his friends and wants them to be happy, giving up what he wants to do to make them happy.  He cares about his parents, calling me each afternoon with a funny message to make me laugh after a long day at work.  The bottom line is:  he cares!

Tonight he showed it in a way I will never forget and will always remember in my mind.  It was the last minute of the game, and our team was winning by 19 points.  He had made 2 baskets during the game and has made his fair share in his lifetime.  But one little boy on the team is smaller than the others and has not made a basket in the four games we have played.  Zack, my son, had the ball and a straight shot at making one more goal in the game.  I thought he was going straight for it,
BUT

he surprised everyone.  The young boy was wide open and running up the court with an easy opening.  Zack passed him the ball, so he could try to make a basket, knowing that everyone wanted him to make a goal this year.  It was a beautiful pass, one of the best I have seen.  I was sure the other boy would make his basket, but he fell short, missing the goal.  I knew what he had done, and the other young boy's parents cheered him on.

He told me in the car that he wanted him to make a basket just as much as the coaches do, and he was determined to help him out.  He knew he could have made a beautiful layup but gave it up for a boy he is not even friends with, a boy who stole his baseball cap one year in baseball, a boy who he would probably not hang out with.

Now that is compassion, and I didn't teach him that!  At least I didn't think that I did.  I raised a compassionate child, but I didn't do everything the article told me to do.  I just raised him like my parents raised me and my husband's raised him.

He has responsibilities around the house.  He has to show respect.  He gets punished when deemed necessary.  He plays with his friends.

But you know what I think has done it the most?  He reads fiction.  He understands how people's minds think because he reads fiction.  He reads about compassion and sees how it works, even in fictional books.  He sees inside the minds of others to understand what others feel.  That is how children become compassionate and caring!

Don't you want a classroom of children like that?  If so, encourage them to read fiction!  I know the push is nonfiction, but children need to read fiction!

No article ever told me to read with my child to make him more compassionate, but now I know it helped!  I only hope my daughter will learn this same lesson through all we have read and done together!



8 comments

  1. I am so proud of Zack! Can I be his Cyber Aunty?? Please?? That is so awesome! You should feel proud of the young man he's become. I feel the same way with both of mine actually. Although you know my second has her moments, both have a kind heart which makes me feel proud. Thanks for sharing! Zack is AWESOME!!!

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    1. Absolutely, Carla! He needs more aunts in his life! You have done a wonderful job with your children too! Thanks for the compliments!

      Andrea

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  2. Thank you for sharing this post - it really hit home for me. You should be so proud of your son, you are doing a great job!

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    1. You are welcome! Sometimes I don't feel like I do enough as a mom, but moments like these make realize I have done OK.

      I hope you have the same joys raising your children as well!

      Andrea

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  3. Oh my gosh...LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Sharing on my FB page NOW. What a sweet child. I know you are proud :)
    Julie
    The Techie Teacher

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  4. Aww, what a sweetie!! You ARE raising a compassionate child. We don't necessarily need a formula for how to do it. Just model the behaviors they should see and encourage them to do what's right!

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

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  5. Sweet story that brought tears to my eyes. (and I don't even have any kids besides by school kids) Way to go!
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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  6. Very interesting hypothesis. I think you are on to something.
    Not very fancy

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