5 fun activities teach kids to think of others

In an old issue of Psychology Today, I ran across an article featuring the words of Dennis Rosen, M.D.

Sometimes children seem so self absorbed and so preoccupied with gadgets and toys, we wonder whether they are aware of, or care about, what goes on around them. We like to tell ourselves, “Something” must be wrong with this generation.

Except there isn’t. The problem lies with us, the adults, who could be challenging them to think about others, and leading them to action.

Prior to going to Haiti to volunteer at a hospital, Dr. Rosen spoke to his daughter’s second grade class about the conditions there, showing them pictures of what life is like for children just like them. Following his visit, the class collected over 7,000 vitamins for him to give out.

Teaching children to face down their flaws

I watch my grandchildren regularly while their parents are working. One day I drove them and their friends on a day trip to a nearby town. It was supposed to be a fun trip, but the car was full and noisy.

car driverOne of my grandchildren in particular was acting up and arguing about some small point. After several back-and-forth exchanges, I lost my temper and yelled at the child. Suddenly, the whole car was silent.

Sound familiar? This grandfather realized he messed up. It is an almost universal aspiration for children and adults–even grandfathers–to recognize that we have certain weaknesses, flaws or character defects we want to change.

Why my grandmother is my hero

915223_19326781 older boy swingsThe English class assignment was to write a five-paragraph essay about a personal hero. Adrian’s* hero is his grandmother–a friend of mine–who shared the essay. Notice how Adrian’s every point flows from his grandmother’s human spirit… and not a single point flows from material possessions.

My grandmother will always be my personal hero and she has a lot more super powers than you could imagine.”

Superpower #1    Acts of courage

A hero is not just somebody who saves lives or flies. It is someone who makes a difference with acts of courage, love and positive influence. My grandmother will always be my personal hero because she never gives up on me and always tries to be a positive role model.