In this module our focus is on developing compassion and empathy
for oneself and others. Heroic behavior will not occur if a person
does not care. Caring about oneself is not the same thing as being
selfish. Unlike selfishness, true self-care is noble. A child who
stands up to give a speech with trembling knees or admits to a wrongdoing,
knowing unpleasant consequences will follow, is motivated by self-care.
These children are essentially saying, "I want to be proud
of myself and gain recognition from others as an honorable, strong
person." This behavior is quite different from the child who
gorges himself on cookies meant for the entire family or steals
money from his brother to buy something for himself. Both actions
are more an expression of self-hate than self-care.
Heroic behavior will not occur unless a person cares. Children
learn to care by having someone care about them. Indifference to
suffering that originated in a lack of love and care at home is
extremely difficult, if not impossible to change in a school setting.
Schools provide a social laboratory in which children learn to nurture
and be nurtured by others outside of the family.
Of course, children will want to discuss heroic action when these
matters are raised. Keep in mind that we are gradually building
a knowledge base that leads to action. As much as possible, keep
the focus on the elements of heroism that make the behavior possible.
ideas and actions
1. Caring is of fundamental importance for heroic behavior.
2. Have compassion for the suffering of others.
3. Protecting one's self-respect may take courage.
activities (grades 4-6)
1. Tribal cruelty
2. Would you care?
3. Caring for myself