Becoming more extra-centered and less self-centered. Learning to feel with and for others. Empathy, tolerance, brotherhood. Sensitivity to needs in people and situations.
Sample Method for Preschool Age: The "Magic" Words
Intrigue small children with the notion of using polite words. Tell the children any story that involves magic words -- abracadabra, Rumpelstiltskin -- or any story you want to make up. Then ask them if there is such a thing as real magic words -- words that make good things happen when they are used.
The answer is yes. "Please," "thank you," "excuse me," and "you're welcome" make people smile, make them feel better, make the world work better.
Explain this notion several times and prepare your children for the simple correction or reminder, "Remember to use the magic words."
Sample Method of Elementary Age: The "Catch an Eye" Contest
This gives children practice in the friendly art of direct eye contact. When you are going somewhere with one or more children, particularly to a public place, have a contest to see who can "catch the most eyes." To count someone, you must look at them until they glance back, then smile as you catch their eye. Count the ones that smile back and count separately the ones that don't. The "smile-backers" are worth two points, the "glance but don't smile" people are worth one point.
We were at a shopping mall with three of our children (ages nine, eleven, and twelve) one day when we held our first "catch an eye" contest. The game got quite competitive, and each of the children ended up with a score or over one hundred.
Afterward, as we were driving home, Saydi observed, "It's amazing how many people just look away the minute you catch their eye."
Jonah added, "Yes, and they're not near as fun as the ones who look back at you and smile. I think those are the happy ones."
Sample Method for Adolescents: Name Remembering.
It's a good idea to help adolescents learn to remember the names of people they meet. Discuss with children the importance of people's names. (The most important word to anyone is his own name!) Point out that remembering names is a great key in the art of making friends. Teach children to remember a name. One is to use the name several times in the conversation you have when you meet a person. Say, "Nice to meet you, Joyce. Where do you live, Joyce? Joyce, do you have a brother who works at Miller's?" Another is to write the name down (on your planner, appointment book, notebook, etc.) as soon as possible after you meet. At the end of the day glance at the name again, associate it with the face, and it will be yours forever (or at least for some time).
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