Absolutely true, although I think there is a post coming soon about the power of stories. But what do you do, besides not be authoritarian, to promote compassionate children and nuanced, independent thinking?
In the book Above All Be Kind, author Zoe Weil offers four tools for raising compassionate children: provide information, teach critical thinking, instill the three R's (Reverence, Respect, and Responsibility), and offer positive choices. And then, above and beyond all the tools in your toolbox, she reminds you that Your Life Is Your Message.
My conclusion is that if your goal is to raise a compassionate, caring, happy human being that you must first of all work on making yourself a compassionate, caring, and happy adult and live in a compassionate, caring, happy home environment.
- Surround yourself with information, continue to learn, continue to listen.
- Don't stop asking questions, don't assume you have all the answers now, and don't be afraid to engage in debate (with yourself, with your kids, with others) over ideas and even "how we do things here".
- Approach life with the Three R's - talk about them but more importantly LIVE THEM.
- Stay positive and optimistic and offer ideas for positive action and positive choices.