can you teach kindness?
As part of a larger public discussion about altruism, Zocalo Public Square, a non-profit daily ideas platform, held an online debate on whether kindness can be taught. Kathy Beland, author of School-Connect: Optimizing High School Experience, was a participant in my online debate. This curriculum focuses on social-emotional learning.
The entire conversation can be viewed, but I wanted you to get a taste of it here so that you can spark local conversations about this intriguing question.
Kathy stressed the critical connection that exists between empathy and kindness. Kathy also mentioned one aspect: “vicariously experiencing what that other is experiencing,” which helps to establish a connection between kindness and altruism.
It was Paul Ekman’s work that provided the most of her inspiration. In her response, she pointed to the book Emotions Revealed, which explains how to distinguish faces and emotions to better communication and emotional life. She also talked about how people may learn to detect the facial expressions that correspond to the seven basic emotions.
My point of view was the same as yours. I’ve had to deal with unkind people, as have most of us, but I’ve discovered that the majority of people can be taught to be nice. This is a reflection of the intrinsic goodness of human beings, which is the ability to be compassionate. Rather than trying to instill anything new in our nature, we are attempting to develop a tendency or assist with relearning techniques. I am a citizen, a grandfather, and a father.
father, professional and believe that schools should be teaching kindness. It is impossible to teach kindness in
Families, communities, schools, or classrooms are all examples of contexts. This will result in a lack of civility and a lack of long-term learning.
Kathy is correct in stating that kindness necessitates the ability to acquire new abilities. Character and social-emotional development are encouraged through the use of these abilities in the majority of evidence-based programs for children. Maltreatment during a child’s early years can make it more difficult to develop kindness later in life. We must be prepared to teach it. Later in life, it can be suffocated by poverty or impeded by victimization, depending on the circumstances. Leaving aside these and other problems, receiving kindness and being able to express kindness through service can both be healing and growth-enhancing experiences.
The ability to teach kindness can be learned, but it can also be developed via nurturing. From horrifying genocide experiences, we have learned that kindness may be lost, but it cannot be regained. In civilized human existence, it is a necessary part of one’s existence. It is an essential component of every family, home, school, community, and society, as well as a fundamental component of every individual.