Michele Borba, parenting expert and educator, recently wrote a book entitled Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World. The book highlights the value of empathy and why it’s important in raising children and how an empathetic child has a higher chance of being successful. Empathetic children are more aware of the world that’s surrounding them. They see things as having value and recognize the feelings and emotions that the people around them feel on a day-to-day basis. Moreover, empathic children are more resilient and patient because they can step into another person’s shoes and see the bigger picture.
Empathy is an important value of life that every child should possess. If we want to raise children who are aware of the world around them and want them to genuinely strive to make the world a better place, then we must instill empathy as a valuable element within their childhood.
Social media has taken over. Oftentimes you’ll find out breaking news on Facebook or Twitter before hearing it on the news or reading about it on a news outlet. Everyone has some sort of social media account and relies on that channel to supply them with everything that they deem to be important. Therefore, young teens believe that social media is a must and they’re over sharing their newsfeeds with selfies and other snapshots of their life. The problem is that because social media is relatively new, most parents and guardians haven’t taken the time to teach their children how to properly use it.
Since they’re not being properly educated on the dos and don’ts, children are flooding the Internet with pictures of themselves and other images that portray their life to be perfect reality. We as parents must instill the humble values of life. Show them that taking a hundred selfies doesn’t make you beautiful and that beauty is not something that’s present just on the outside, but also the inside. In addition, we must also explain to them that everything doesn’t need to be archived on social media – and with saying that we should demonstrate the reality of the items showcased on social media.
In a day and age where technology has taken over just about every aspect of our lives, much of today’s youth doesn’t know how to properly communicate. Instead of having basic conversations face-to-face, most of today’s youth would prefer to send a message via social media or send a text message. Unfortunately, that’s not real communication. We, as parents, must instill values of life that show today’s youth how to properly interact with each other. Sitting behind a screen and typing or keying in letters on a touch screen don’t convey the emotions and definition of our language like a face-to-face conversation.
Let’s read with our children to teach them the value of the written word. Let’s reconvene each day and talk to our children – have face-to-face conversations that will not only build our relationships, but show them the value of love and devotion. If we make time for our kids and communicate with them, they’ll identify the importance of these efforts.
Recently I received a flyer from my daughter’s school and it said that her grade level was going to make homework an optional thing. The flyer enclosed a list of reasons behind the decision – more family time, sports commitments, and other endeavors were listed. Now I can remember carrying a book bag filled with books that were necessary to complete my assignments. Following my homework I had to go to softball practice, play in a softball game if scheduled, and do my daily chores. As I got older, into my teenage years, I did all of this, plus school and handled a part-time job. While I pitched a fit and huffed and puffed some days, I look back now and believe that pushing the envelope helped me become a stronger person.
So I ask you, what are we doing to our youth by making homework a choice? What are we teaching our youth? As parents we must teach our kids that we can achieve great things – there are no limitations if we believe. Believing that we can achieve greatness shouldn’t be a choice.
Today our youth is somewhat mislead. You see gestures concerning race and inequality by athletes such as Colin Kapernick and they are led to believe that a gesture is going to change the world that we live in. As parents we must instill values of life centered on being an aware individual. Our youth must know that awareness means being educated about the world and the events taking place. Being aware means knowing that you have to follow gestures with actions. Overall, we must show our children that you have to be active in order to make a real difference.
It’s very easy to complain about something, but it’s not that easy to change things. While it’s not going to be easy to scratch the surface, the outcome that will generate from the efforts could be life changing. When topics arise within the media, talk about these situations with your kids and allow them to present their opinion. Talk it out because this is how they’ll find their voice and gain confidence within their awareness.