Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cultivating Compassion and Connection

Due to internet connection issues this is being published late. Will catch up for next week, hopefully.

In order to have a better world we need to connect with others differently. We must connect with kindness and compassion. But too many people have not been taught to do that. While technology gives us so many new ways to connect, we still aren't really connecting. Family meals, if they still happen with everyone together, are mostly everyone with their smart phones texting. So families aren't even connecting.

So it is up to those of us who want to create a better world to nurture compassion and connection in our families and with others. Children growing up in this age are more and more isolated by technology. Face time with warm bodies is less  and less time for them. I see parents on their phones when with their little kids and I wonder if they will grow up without knowing how to relate to others without a phone or ipad. Will they know how to converse with other people that are right there with them?

So we need to begin modeling connection. Limit the amount of time you spend on your phone or computer when you are with your children. Set aside time to be truly there for them. Read together, talk about their day, and really listen. Value what they say. Ask them serious questions. And have a "no tech" mealtime.

Relate to other adults with openness and kindness. Practice discussing issues without judging. Listen to what others have to say. Take time to converse beyond "Hi" and "How ya doing." And when you walk down the street or through a hallway in a building, make eye contact and smile, say "Hi."
Let folks know they have been seen and that they matter.

Your child and the people around you are watching, even if unconsciously. The way you connect with others will say a lot about you. And it can encourage others to do more to reach out and connect.

But why connect with kindness? Kindness leads to other good things: compassion, better relationships, future success, improved self-esteem, and good mental and physical health. Doesn't everyone want that? Won't that make a better world? I'm reading The Kindness Advantage; cultivating compassionate and connected children, by Dale Atkins, PhD. and Amanda Salzhauer, MSW. I figured that what we teach a child we can also teach an adult who didn't learn as a child.

So over the next week or so I'll be sharing what I find in it. I hope you as a parent or your inner child will find something helpful.

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, an the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness dos to others is that it makes them kind themselves.                                                    Amelia Earhart, pilot

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