Kids Are Teaching Grownups About Kindness

Kids Are Teaching Grownups About Kindness

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“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~ Lao Tzu

Educators from across the U.S. gathered in Cambridge, Massachusetts for “Making Caring Common: Cultivating Kindness and Preventing Bullying in Schools,” a 2-day program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Drawing on 2014 Harvard research that found that 80 percent of youth say their parents care more about their achievements and happiness than about whether they are being kind, the program’s goal was to share strategies for promoting school cultures of caring and for preventing challenging student behaviors like bullying.

As the parent of three children who hopes they’ll grow up to be kind and giving members of society, the survey results were disturbing, especially having just read Sherry Turkle’s new book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, which cited concerns that today’s kids’ pervasive use of smart phones has made them less empathetic and unpracticed in conversation skills necessary for true communication.

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But, there’s also an encouraging and contradictory trend that shows that more and more kids are “giving back” and embracing new technologies to show their charity.

In May 2016, the social fundraising website Booster based in Newton, Massachusetts announced “B-Cause: Kids” – a first-of-its-kind national awareness initiative to inspire more kids to be generous and giving.

“Since kids are our most important asset, Americans need to do whatever we can to ensure their well-being, to help them to become well-rounded citizens, and to teach them to give back,” said Andrew Moss, President of Booster, LLC. “It’s time to spread the word that philanthropy is fun, and that charity is essential for all children.”

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Booster’s initiative honors what it calls the “next generation of philanthropists.” In a post on its blog, Booster has showcased a group of 14 American kids (from 7-to-16 years of age) who are making a difference standing up for people and causes they care about.

As their profiles in the blog post illustrate, these kids are running t-shirt fundraising campaigns to raise awareness and money for a range of charities including childhood cancer research, ending homelessness and hunger, rescuing sexually exploited and enslaved children, supporting childhood literacy, protecting endangered African wildlife, and other worthy causes.

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The stories of these kids are inspiring and many grownups would do well to emulate their model of generosity.

In a cynical world filled with bad news about terrorism, floods, fires, murders and worse – it’s reassuring to have some “good news” knowing that tomorrow’s budding philanthropists are already doing good work.

This growing trend gives me optimism for the future and brings to mind the words of Louis Pasteur:
“When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments — tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become.” Republish
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