Heroic, courageous people do not put borders on the care
by limiting it to only certain groups. Martin Luther King, like
Gandhi before him, cared deeply for all human beings, not just African
Americans. When Keigh Louis Putnam raced in the darkness to the
stalled vehicle on the railroad track, he had no idea if the person
in the car was white, red, yellow, or black, male or female, young
or old. He only had one thing in mind: someone was in danger.
Unfortunately, something called "tribal cruelty" is growing
in our society. Tribal cruelty means caring only for others in a
defined group or clique and not caring for anyone outside of the
group. Beginning at the ages of 10-12, children are in the early
stages of forming cliques that will grow stronger and be clearly
evident in high school. Much of this social huddling or belonging
is inevitable. But we have to prepare children to resist the most
destructive aspects of clique membership: indifference, if not hostility,
Talk with your children about this issue and reexamine the case
studies selected earlier (or add new case studies). What evidence
of real caring was displayed as a critical part of the heroic behavior?
Try to look at the world through the heart of the actor.
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