What about compassion as a core subject?

@paula27661 (15899)
Australia
October 22, 2009 3:27am CST
I saw a woman who was a guest on Ellen talk about her teenage son’s recent suicide due to bullying at school. The boy was so distraught that he no longer wanted to live. It was a very sad story and Ellen said something I thought was interesting; she mentioned compassion and that compassion should be included as a core subject at school because so many kids are not aware of this very important way of relating to other human beings. I thought it would not be a bad idea, what do you think? How can we teach our kids about empathy and compassion? It should start at home for sure but what about school? What do you think of Ellen’s idea?
4 people like this
21 responses
• United States
23 Oct 09
Paula- I'm just going to cut to the chase as I'm on here for just a few this morning before class tonight. Though this is a wonderful idea, and it's been talked about by many a teacher that I teach with, it's not the teachers who are blocking it. Yes, there are these wonderful people on Mylot stating "Oh yes, yes do teach our children this", the reality in the United States education system is that the moment we as teachers try to teach Morals and Ethics, and even Compassion we are road blocked by parents stating to stay out of their parenting. If those who have posted here truly believe this to be much needed course in school (mandatory to curriculum), them my suggestions is they get together with other supportive parents, petition their State Department of Education and get the curriculum changed. Otherwise, it's just people saying one thing online and saying another thing offline. Namaste-Anora
2 people like this
• United States
23 Oct 09
I do hate it when I make typos, how embarrassing! That should be "then" not "them".
2 people like this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
24 Oct 09
I agree that we should follow through. Personally I am going to start by having a chat with my daughter's teacher because he is in charge of a program called "You Can Do It" which focuses on raising and maintaining children's self esteem; I will start there and write to the Department if necessary. Thanks for responding Anora, I always value your opinion.
@eshaan (6193)
• India
24 Oct 09
I agree with you Paula...good humans are molded by their parents at home and later more made better at school ..but yes it starts at home...we should built in the qualities in children of love and empathy so that wherever they go they show that they come from good homes :)
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@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
24 Oct 09
It should definitely start at home, that is the biggest influence but sadly it is not always the case so having some kind of program at school may help...It can't hurt...Thanks for stopping by eshaan, appreciate it!
@ElicBxn (60835)
• United States
22 Oct 09
how do you teach it as a subject? Bully the bully for a day? A teacher can talk till they are blue in the face, but if the bully hasn't learned it by 6, they probably won't learn it from a stranger.
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@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
I can see what you are saying but my thought was that reminding the kids the value of basic human compassion can't hurt...If it got through to even just one...Thanks Elic!
1 person likes this
• Pamplona, Spain
22 Oct 09
Hi paula, At School we were taught some kind of class every so often to be considerate to other People it was not included every week and it was taught as a special class. Reckon this would be a very good idea to teach Children on this kind of basis. We usually had to act out different problems but then they did not make it so complex. Bullying in our School was a big thing and nothing was ever really done to stop it we had to fend for ourselves but we were taught to respect other People and the way they were.
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
I think those kind of classes are being left out in some cases and I think it would be good if every school considered re-introducing those teachings to the kids, it can't hurt...Thanks for responding lovinangelsinstead21!
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
22 Oct 09
Oh paula ! What heartwrenching story! Terrible! But as far as compassion being included as a subject I think it would basically be like another moral science class Paula. In our days, ther was Moral science as a subject in school, the first hour in the school was this class, and we had to w rite test on thsi too. We placed quite a bit of importance to this and to this day my husband and son tease me saying that I studied Moral science in school and thta even my other classmates won't be like me[they dont mean this always a s a compliment In my undergraduate curriculum this was conducted once every week and I diligently packed the notes dictated by my favourite lecturer when I got married and went to my inlaws' place But Paula, nowadays I find it difficult to believe that the current youngsters are taught a lot of sense of values. Even if they are thye are going to sleep through in class.I believe it is basically an upbringing, the lack of time on the part of the parents that may have caused the change in culture, bred a bit of arrogance [in the name of confidence] in young children. Once this culture is there in the children it becomes a deomonstrative thing too in school and children do not know how to interact well.THis is my personal feeling but I do not know how this happens in your country.
2 people like this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
Good moral values taught at home would be ideal for every child but there are parents who are not considering the importance of teaching their kids basic human values and therefore these kids are left in the dark to deal with life by bullying and being violent. I don't believe as parents we should rely on our schools to do our job for us but it would help if they reminded the kids of the importance of empathy for one another, it may not work but if the message got through to even just one misguided child, it would be worth it. Times have changed and I agree that a lot of parents don't put in enough time for their offsprings, it's such a shame. Thanks kalav!
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
25 Oct 09
I think that's a good idea, totally. Students nowadays should definitely have compassion definitely and there should be a short subject or course on this totally. I think bully cases shouldn't be taken lightly and should be looked into carefully the ways to reduce the numbers of cases definitely..
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
25 Oct 09
Bullying is a very serious problem and it is one of my biggest fears in regards to my daughter. As I mentioned here before I may talk to her teacher and see if he is at least willing to chat to the kids about it, although my daughter has told me that they all attended a play called "Power Of One" to teach the kids how to deal with bullying and that's a good start. Thanks for responding zed!
1 person likes this
@zed_k4 (17627)
• Singapore
27 Oct 09
You are very welcome.. what your daughter had told you; that's a really good start. You have the initiative there, go for it, Paula.. all the best on that..
@krajibg (11940)
• Guwahati, India
22 Oct 09
Hi Paula, the saying 'charity begins at home'. This is is universal truth that we must prepare our children into the grown up world or the consequence would be like that. Possibly Ellen did not take too much attention on child growth and therefore now a losing mother and you know the pang of a mother who has lost her young son. Parents are responsible in todays' social milieu how to cop up with the growing competition among children. Lessons on endurance and fellow feeling are the core thing now as I feel.
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
22 Oct 09
Yes it should begin at home for sure but sadly there are parents who do not put these values first when it comes to their children. Thanks rajib!
@krajibg (11940)
• Guwahati, India
22 Oct 09
I wonder why people are not what they should be.
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
24 Oct 09
It actually starts at home however, having it as a subject at school would be a really great idea if the school system would even consider the idea which I doubt they will. I feel it would do a great deal of justice in helping kids realize that we're all different in some way and to learn to respect each other. I know it would've benefited me when I was in school. I wouldn't have been ridiculed so much for being different.
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
25 Oct 09
Yes I doubt it will ever be included but I plan to chat to my daughter's teacher about it so that he will at least mention it to the kids, can't hurt...Thanks Cats!
@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
Personally, I think that's an excellent idea. Although I don't know much about school subjects nowadays, I often wonder if they are changing to suit the changing world we live in.
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
24 Oct 09
Yes...It is unfortunate that basic human values are not taught in some homes...If the schools introduced some kind of class on compassion, empathy etc it may help, even if it only helped one kid, it would be worth doing. Thanks mipen!
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
23 Oct 09
Hi paula! I think that it would be a great idea. After all, that is where it needs to be practiced most. Children can be very cruel and of course it should start at home but sadly, sometimes it doesn't.
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@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
I know...Even if something like that made a difference to just one child every now and then, it would be worth it...Thanks Jen!
• Philippines
23 Oct 09
Yeah, it is a good thing to include it so that every students should be aware of the meaning of compassion in general does not only limit within the areas of school curriculum but also need to experience outside school of life. Some of the things which could expose a student to be aware of being compassionate is for school policy to welcome and treat all students equally irregardless of personality differences, races and cultures. The core of compassion should begin first at home as the training grounds for every students to learn the values of being kind and respect their peers through the examples show by the parents, for examples when a pet get sick at an earlier ages, a child show mercy to gives the pet care and medicines that should be the start of showing compassion, then by helping in the household chores and when the parents bring their children to attend charitable activities helping the unfortunate, homeless, pauper and join to become a volunteer for humanity cause.That is the way the children could see the differences between poverty and being in luxury. Thus, it could be the start where children fell empathy/ becomes compassionate and treat those with life with respect. Sometimes, the parents too are the one to blame for children becoming bully, because their child tend to be spoiled with lot of materials support yet lacking in love and attention..then becoming bully as in bullying they get the attention which they fail to experience with their parents. And they never realize by doing so hurting the person who is the target of bullying and in the end nobody gonna end up as a winner with those kind of scenario.
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
You have put it very well. Kids who bully are usually children who are lacking love for themselves and it is a shame that these kids did not receive the adequate care at home which does not just come in the forms of material gifts as you've pointed out. Having the school teach more about compassion etc would never replace what should have been instilled at home but unfortunately not all parents share the same values. I appreciate your excellent response, thank you neelianoscet!
@lindiebiz (1013)
• Canada
23 Oct 09
I agree with you, compassion and empathy should be subjects in schools because we should not relent in trying to imbibe these qualities in young people because the things that happen kids do these days is nothing to write home about i dont see why a child should set some one on fire and laugh over it all as a way of revenge that is horrible
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
There are many kids who unfortunately have not been educated in basic human values such as compassion at home so if they can learn something about it at school, the way I see it, it cannot hurt! Thanks for the response lindiebiz!
@Zenstrive (239)
• Indonesia
23 Oct 09
Indonesia has this subject called "Pancasila Moral Education". It never helps to reduce corruptions here. How could it, if the teachers themselves do some form of corruptions here and there.
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
Oh dear that does not sound too hopeful! At least the school is making an attempt to guide kids in the right direction; it doesn't sound too successful though... Thanks for the input Zenstrive!
@ladym33 (11008)
• United States
22 Oct 09
I think it is a good idea. I think there should be a chapter on bullying in health classes, and maybe even some roll playing so that kids realize how terrible it is to be bullied. I think some sensitivity training and compassion training would be a very good addition to any curriculum.
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
Yes, I think so too...Sensitivity training is a good name for it, I hadn't thought about role playing, that would be a good teaching tool. Thanks ladym33 I appreciate your input.
@Hatley (164670)
• Garden Grove, California
22 Oct 09
paula parents should be using compassion and empathy from babyhood right up til the kids leave the nest.to teach these' you must be compassionate and empathetic since otherwise no lessons would stick. Children learn from listening to and mimicking their parents.compassion can also be taught in school too as kids learn to care for each other. Ellen's idea is great.
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
I agree that these lessons should certainly begin at home and boy, are you right about kids mimicking the parents! My daughter even uses the same mannerisms as me, it is quite unnerving! If the schools reinforced those values it couldn't hurt. Thanks for being here Hatley!
@Bluepatch (2481)
• Trinidad And Tobago
22 Oct 09
As a Christian we are taught that compassion is an essential part of everyone's spiritual life. I'm amazed that you people now see the need to include this in a school curriculum. For me its an essential but it seems the world out there has it as an appendage. Not that I'm critical but the boy who killed himself needed God more than anything else. If he had God he would not have done this at all. I'm sure of that.
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
I'm not sure where this poor boy's spirituality lay, I imagine he was very psychologically disturbed by all the the bullying he endured and I feel so very sorry for him. Compassion is an absolute essential in everyone's life but unfortunately there are parents out there who are not doing their job to the best of their abilities and some kids are left in the dark in regards to spirituality and compassion for other human beings, it is not right, but that is how it is in many instances so if the school could help it would be a bonus, it could never substitute good values learnt at home but it would be something. Thanks for responding Bluepatch!
@dawnald (84131)
• Shingle Springs, California
22 Oct 09
I think they actually are doing something like that at my daughter's school. It's a great idea.
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
My daughter's school has an anti bullying program but I don't know exactly what it entails...I may just have to look into it...Thanks dawn!
@SACHIN2708 (1638)
• India
22 Oct 09
yup it should start at home as well as school and we should take first step in this work this is great idea
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
It is a good idea to guide children in the right direction both at home and at school. Thanks SACHIN2708!
@VANILLAREY (1473)
• India
22 Oct 09
Why in school? It should be taught by every parent. Parents these days don't care to teach the children. They just pay others to take care of their children. People should realize that its the parents duty to raise the child to be a better human, being instead putting the blame and others or pushing their responsibility on others like the school. The above incident also shows that the school does not handle bullies. The child could have complained to the school authorities or to his/her parents instead of taking such drastic steps.
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
I agree with you although unfortunately there are parents who don't instil the right values in their kids. My daughter's school has a program in place to stop bullying but it is only primary school and I have not seen how effective it is. The kids being bullied generally don't share what they are going through with their parents a lot of the time, I don't know why... You are right that too many parents rely on the school to teach basic human values to their children, it's a shame, but that is how it is some of the time... Thanks for stopping by VANILLAREY I appreciate your response!
@buckiem (129)
22 Oct 09
I totally agree with the idea there is so much bullying and fighting in the world today among younger people that it should definately be followed through at school to teach compassion as some parents obviously are not teaching it to their children. It might even help make the younger generation a much better caring generation.
@paula27661 (15899)
• Australia
23 Oct 09
Yes that would be ideal wouldn't it? Thank you so much for responding buckiem!