How to Raise Kids Who Value Kindness Over Success

January 11, 2020

Quote of the Week

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For indeed, that's all who ever have." --Margaret Mead

Stop Trying To Raise Successful Kids, Start Raising Kind Ones

"As anyone who has been called out for hypocrisy by a small child knows, kids are exquisitely attuned to gaps between what grown-ups say and what grown-ups do. If you survey American parents about what they want for their kids, more than 90 percent say one of their top priorities is that their children be caring. This makes sense: Kindness and concern for others are held as moral virtues in nearly every society and every major religion.

But when you ask children what their parents want for them, 81 percent say their parents value achievement and happiness over caring. Kids learn what’s important to adults not by listening to what we say, but by noticing what gets our attention. And in many developed societies, parents now pay more attention to individual achievement and happiness than anything else. However much we praise kindness and caring, we’re not actually showing our kids that we value these traits."

This week's featured article is written by a dear friend of the ServiceSpace community, Adam Grant and his wife Allison.  Read more about how we can demonstrate that compassion and caring are core values by changing the questions we ask children.

Reading Corner

Title: Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World
By: Michelle Borba, EdD
Recommended for: All ages

"Parenting expert Borba (Building Moral Intelligence) traveled the world and researched for decades before writing this fresh and powerful primer on raising caring kids. The book came into focus, she explains, while she was visiting the Cambodian killing fields outside Phnom Penh. Her resultant goal—find out what causes inhumanity and how to stop it—led her to visit Dachau, Auschwitz, and Rwanda, as well as school classrooms. By consulting current research, she discovered that a strong sense of empathy is not only a moral imperative, but also an advantage in attaining health, happiness, and career success. In separate chapters, Borba presents nine essential empathetic skills: emotional literacy, moral identity, perspective talking, moral imagination, self-regulation, practicing kindness, collaboration, moral courage, and compassionate leadership abilities. In each section, she provides a wealth of exercises, activities, and age-by-age strategies to help parents nurture empathy—a trait, she stresses, that is not innate but can be taught and developed. With narcissism and self-absorption on the rise in our digital age, she argues, this trait is in danger. Her thought- provoking and practical book may very well tip over the parenting priority applecart—and rightly so."  --Publishers Weekly

Be the Change

Read one of the "top ten books for parents who want to raise kind kids" from this recommended list and get some other parents together to discuss the book.  Collectively, come up with ways to put your favorite tips into action.