We are exploring the meaning behind my chaplaincy mission statement. I hope it helps you develop a personal parenting mission statement.
Take Time to CARE
When I ask kids to describe Compassion they usually give me their rendition of the Golden Rule. Society tends to operate as if the Golden Rule is: The one with the gold makes the rules.
But we know, the Golden Rule is: Do to others what you wish they would do to you. This is a very good definition for compassion. Those with healthy emotional intelligence can foresee the way their words and actions will affect others. Compassion is caring about others and recognising that this makes us better people.
To model Compassion to students, I seek first to understand what is causing their emotional pain. Once I understand, I am more able to suggest a solution. If I do not understand the reason for their frustration, anger, sadness, etc – I will give them a strategy to fix a problem they do not have!
In teaching compassion to students, I teach them to write down and memorise three “I am statements.” I am statements are a simplified mission statement. In words suitable for their age, I ask, “What personal value or character strength do you most appreciate in yourself or others?” We make a list of three. Kids almost always put “Kind” first. Everyone wants to be treated kindly and to see themselves as a kind person.
“I am kind” is a fantastic way to internalise Compassion. Once they have established their I am statements We write them on a piece of paper and I encourage the child to read/repeat them every day when they wake up, when they eat meals and when they go to bed. This creates a pattern of repetition that leads to memorisation and soon to integration in their character.
The week after we developed his I am statements, a boy came into my office for a chat. “What are your I am statements?” I asked. He listed them from memory. “Have you had one come to mind when you needed it?” I asked. “Yes!” He laughed, “Yesterday while playing footy. I saw a boy on the other team get a blood nose. I ran over to him and walked him back to his coach. As we were walking I thought, “Hey, I am kind!”
So, there you go! That’s the power of I am statements. They create compassionate and self-aware children. Why not sit down with your kids and let them develop some I am statements today?