In Minnesota and around the world, we are increasingly worried about the reach and devastation of terrorism. The homicidal acts of a few are waged without regard for the impact on the targeted person, families and communities. Clearly, the terrorists in Paris, Egypt or Kenya have no empathy or consideration of the impact of their actions on others.
In response to the Paris terroristic homicides, the Dalai Lama is calling for a systematic approach to foster humanistic values. “If a human being is killed by an animal, it’s sad, but if a human being is killed by another human being it’s unthinkable. We have to make a special effort to think of each other as fellow human beings, as our brothers and sisters.”
What can we do as early childhood teachers, parents, and practitioners to foster humanistic values?
1. Practice Self Awareness: Becoming aware of not only intention, but also the impact of interactions on others, builds perspective and sensitivity to human beings. For example, if your spouse is hurt by a comment you intended as a compliment, rather than defending the comment, be curious about how it landed on your spouse. Try to understand the impact as felt by your spouse.