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Caring skills

A note to parents
1. Tribal cruelty
You are at Caring lesson 1Go to Caring lesson 2Go to Caring lesson 3

Key ideas
1. Caring is of fundamental importance for heroic behavior.
2. Tribal cruelty or exclusive caring is destructive.

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, to outsiders.

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.

Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion for this lesson? Go to the author contact page or leave a message at the forum.


maphttp://www.ksu.edu/wwparent/programs/hero/hero-care-1.htm--Revised June 15, 2005
Copyright © 1996-2005 Charles A. Smith. All rights reserved.