3 Concepts to Help Students Become More Compassionate

While academic learning is of obvious importance, there are other critical concepts necessary to becoming high functioning, relevant and of importance to growing your community. Here are three of those concepts and some simple ways to begin planting the seeds of thought with your students.

CHOOSING TO EMBRACE MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES

Individuals who are not only open to different perspectives, but who actively seek new perspectives have a much greater chance of connecting to opportunity. By opportunity, I mean both career-wise and with regards to healthy relationships. There are myriad advantages in academic learning, street smarts and business. Learning to embrace multiple perspectives impacts everything in our life, from parenting, to networking, to being able to improvise in a business setting. Here’s one quick physical experience/game you can use with your students of any age.

Circle in the Air

  • Point your finger and arm straight up in the air

  • Begin to draw a circle above your head moving in a clockwise direction

  • Begin to slowly lower your circle in front of you, without changing the plane (It should look like a hoola- hoop moving downwards in front of you)

  • Ask your students, “Has anything changed?”

Some will say, in a very excited manner, “the direction has changed!”

I suggest you ask, “Did the direction really change?” Sit back, and enjoy the conversation!

UNDERSTANDING THAT ADVERSITY CAN BE OUR ALLY

When I was introduced to this idea, it took me a while to truly understand the opportunity which exists in adverse situations. One of my favorite ways to share this concept with students is to have them identify how key characters in a book of their choosing deal with adversity. Here is one very clear example for younger learners.

  • Resource: Sam the Ant children’s book 2 “Glow in the Dark” (It’s bilingual)

  • Authors: Sam Sierra-Feldman and myself, her dad  (we designed these with perspective, adversity, and diversity in mind)

As you get into the book, Sam the Ant, Sandy the Ant, and Drag the Dragonfly notice what looks like a glowing monster in a valley. There is a moment of fear of the unknown which certainly qualifies as a moment of adversity. The three main characters decide to confront the adversity. In doing so, the glowing monster explodes into thousands of tiny glow-the-dark fireflies. These fireflies end up helping Sam, Sandy and Drag.

Using the context of a story can bring any idea to life, and in this case, the adversity literally becomes the ally.

RECOGNIZING DIVERSITY AS A STRENGTH

As you begin to read the book, you’ll see Sam the Ant and Sandy the Ant standing next to each other (there is a reason they only have four limbs… that’s coming later in the series). I love to ask students:

“Are the ants different colors?”

The answer so far has always been, yes.

“Are they both ants?”

The answer so far has always been, yes.

At that point I move on with the story. Planting these kinds of seeds take time to develop in someone’s mind. While it takes time, it’s also the most effective, because the conceptualizing of a new concept takes time to settle in someone’s mind.

Keep creating our next generations ability to perceive, synthesize and act!

Enrique

IPN