If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.Dali Lama
Broadening the definition
The competency of Compassion is about the willingness to seek to understand others; an openness to, and tolerance of, perspectives that are different than our own. Compassion is active! It is the willingness to go out of your way in order to act on the behalf of others. Being kind, inclusive, fair, respectful, open-minded, and ethical are aspects of compassion.
The Compassion we cultivate within our students involves teaching both social and emotional intelligence: the ability to read a social setting, bring understanding to it, and respond compassionately. At a young age, this may simply involve one child helping another child pick up a set of dropped crayons. A more sophisticated level of compassion might be witnessing a peer’s emotional struggle in an unjust social interaction. Reading the body language, bringing understanding to the social context and individual, and then following through with kindness is the kind of compassion we seek to cultivate.
We also teach that compassion is an act extended to oneself. This requires helping our learners to develop self-awareness and self-understanding. Being able to recognize, for example, that high personal demands for perfection, might be creating anxiety, stress, or even a type of paralysis. Helping children to recognize such tendencies and then bring lightness, patience, and kindness towards themselves is just as important as extending compassion to others.
By extending compassion, and cultivating compassion in our students, we create learning environments that are safe, warm, inclusive, and happy; such environments offer fertile ground for All learning to flourish.
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