|Thinking About Caring
||Able to feel, think, and act in the interest of others, oneself, and the environment.
|He picks up litter by the side of the road; fixes a snack willingly for a younger
sibling; reads to an elderly neighbor whose eyesight is failing. He refuses to take drugs.
He makes sure pets have food, water, exercise, and shelter.
|He can brainstorm ideas. He can recognize the need for relevant knowledge and
skills, and has the ability to seek them out. He has the skills needed to put caring into
action. He can make decisions based on caring as a value, and he can plan and carry out his
|Insights about the
|Behaving in a caring way relies heavily on wanting to do so and having the
appropriate information and skills. Decision-making skills are particularly important.
Teaching or Preserving Caring
||Teach him to differentiate between living and nonliving things.
Help him interact with other people. Help him experience consequences
in the natural world by providing safe opportunities, such as having him
hold something very warm while you say "hot."
||Provide opportunities for him to be around other people,
including babies and other toddlers. Help him learn that humans must be
touched differently from objects, that they cry and can be hurt, and that
they are particularly fun to be with.
||Help him to learn to take turns and then to share, and that others
have feelings similar to his own. Continue to provide opportunities for
him to interact with other people. Give him a chance to entertain a
younger child and to care for the environment (picking up trash at the
playground or while taking a walk, for example).
||Encourage him to recognize the need for information about
what he is going to care for--younger child, pet, plant, etc.--and the need
for skills to put his caring into action. Teach him how to get information
and skills. Help him understand how another person may think and feel differently
than he does. Talk about how people differ and how their needs
differ as a result. Discuss how to plan to care for a younger child for
a short time, maybe by reading a story or playing a game. Talk about how to care
for the environment.
||Provide opportunities for him to care for something. By this age
he should be able to be involved, take another's perspective, find out the
needs of the person or thing being cared for, understand the situation,
and make plans. He should possess skills to put caring into action or
know how to acquire them. If he does not have the skills, which is very
possible given that our culture does not emphasize caring, you may need
to provide opportunities for him to learn. Note: Developmental tasks of
teenagers frequently interfere with the ability to care for other people or
things. On the other hand, teenagers are often the most altruistic of people.
Influences on Learning Caring
||His social needs will provide some motivation for him to want to
learn how to care for others, including pets.
||If he is emotionally sensitive, he will be aware of how another is
feeling, which gives him useful information when he wants to
care for another person. A child who is very focused on his own affairs
and is not a strong "people" person has more difficulty thinking about the needs
||A visual learner needs visual clues, so books, pictures, and
charts are helpful in teaching what is involved in caring for someone or
something, like a pet.
Reflections about Caring
|Influence of other
|Thoughtful decison making is important in
dealing with a situation in which we plan to care for someone or something.
Information and relevant skills are necessary. A child needs to learn
when it is appropriate to care and when it is more important to base his
behavior on other values, such as assertiveness, competitiveness, or attention
to his own needs.
|Acting in a caring way requires more than the simple desire to be helpful.
It is a complex process, requiring motivation, knowledge, and skills.