These tentative findings are encouraging for those of us who believe that given the right role models and education, children will become kind and gracious adults. They show that babies and toddlers are sensitive to third party interactions of a positive and negative nature, and according to Bloom, this influences how they behave toward others and later on, how they talk about them. They are useful moral foundations, to say the least.
For a year now we have published a newsletter for the primary school children called Kindsville Times. Our many fans include a 10 year-old who writes: “I love your issues.” In each edition we introduce Singa and his friends, teaching our young readers values such as gratitude, empathy, compassion, generosity and so on. We encourage them to write to Singa about their actions, and here is a sampling of the more than 150 received so far:
A letter from a 7 year-old:
Another 7 year-old drew a basket of compassion. Notice that it is very inclusive: “mom, dad, sis, bro, aunt, friends, needy and animals”:
Here is another drawing by a 9 year-old. There are 3 scenarios. First, there is a girl crossing the road when the “green man” is on. In the middle is an old lady who says “It’s so heavy”. And the 9-year old says, “I’ll give you a hand!” Her friend Charleen chimes in, “I’ll give you a hand!” And lastly, there are 3 passengers seated in a MRT train, I presume. One is sleeping, another man who is labelled “Father” in the middle, and a woman labelled “Passenger”. There is an old man standing and holding on to the vertical bar. The “Father” says, “You can have my seat”, and the old man responds, “Thank you.”
A 12-year old came up with a simple 3-step to Kindness program for our consideration:
Kindness is not only a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. It is also the language of children. They are born with a sense of kindness in their bones and they can teach us more than a thing or two about kindness.