Hello. My name is Kathleen Murray. I have been an elementary school teacher for over 15 years now and I am the mother of two young girls. I am currently on a deferred sabbatical and I am using this opportunity to write a book on the concept of empathy and kindness in the home and in the classroom. My belief is that empathy and kindness not only should be but need to be implemented as the main discipline strategies in our homes if we truly wish to raise healthy, well-rounded children; and in our schools if we sincerely wish to guide them effectively in becoming the leaders of tomorrow.
The purpose of this blog is to explore alternative perspectives on everyday situations. Each scenario will force us to examine our own beliefs and our tendency to make assumptions, to judge or to jump to conclusions.
I have personally been using empathy and kindness as my main discipline strategies with my daughters, aged 7 and 9, since they were born, as well as in my teaching practice for as long as I can remember. I am very pleased with the results I see in my children, especially in how they treat each other as sisters, as well as in my students in terms of how they relate to one another.
What is so important about empathy and kindness, you ask? Let’s consider today’s most common complaints about children…They are often accused of being selfish and of lacking respect. We hear all about how this is a generation of “Me,me,me!” Moreover, today’s parents are accused of spoiling their children or not disciplining them enough.
I would argue that everybody is doing their best with the tools they have. I wish to offer parents, teachers and children alike, some concrete tools and strategies for developing their empathy, compassion and kindness as a means for having more peaceful homes and schools. Empathy is a skill that anyone can develop. We can train ourselves to be more empathetic and in so doing, teach today’s generation of children to be caring and kind to one another on a more profound level than the world has ever seen.
While the benefits of practicing empathy and kindness are endless, I would venture to say that the greatest risk you take in exploring these practices is that you may begin to witness and experience greater joy (this may include laughter & smiles from people around you) and you will likely feel a reduction in stress, leading to a greater sense of well-being. These are some of the side-effects I have experienced and I wish the same for you!
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All the best,