Respect, Compassion & Understanding – Part 1

The Foundation of Child Development Milestones

(1st of a 6 Part Series)

A child’s level of maturity can be measured in any of several ways – their ability to control their emotions, their ability to communicate, their grasp of the world around them and the fact that they are no longer the center of the universe. However, one would be hard pressed to find a better measuring stick for this than the child’s ability to embrace and exhibit the attributes of respect, compassion and understanding for people that are different than themselves. These differences generally come in the form of cultural, ethnic, physical and belief systems (religion), but can be broken down to more specific areas of differentiation such as financial and geographic. A wealthy child at pre-school sees a child from a challenged financial background with worn out shoes and clothes – a child from the southern states moves to the northern states with his/her southern accent – a Christian child sees  a Muslim child wearing a head scarf (hijab) or a Jewish child wearing a their own head covering (yarmulke). What will the child’s reaction be when they see another child exhibiting these differences? Will they laugh, be scared, or just stare? This is such a sensitive subject because it challenges the sensitivities of the parent, but to ignore it is to take away one of the 2 core areas of influence, the other being the school.

Now having introduced the subject, we will explore over the coming weeks the importance of ingraining the lessons of respect, compassion and understanding at an early age, and ways to address and nurture them in our children.

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