19/03/2011 22:49 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Why We Need To Teach Our Children Compassion And Kindness

Compassion. Benevolence. Humaneness. Empathy. Basic kindness. All attributes we would hope to instill and nurture in our children I'm sure, or at least I hope you agree? I for one would be proud should my daughter display such characteristics as she grows up. Our young children are still malleable and we have a responsibility to them.

As for us? Well, we are definitely old(er) and hopefully wiser. We know the world to be far from the perfect land of sand-pits and ice-cream that our children believe in.

We know that there are some truly loathsome people in society. Cruelty, unfairness, and sadness unfortunately in abundance. And even though our little ones may still be of that wonderful age where they believe their parents to be omniscient, perfect beings who always know and do what's best, we know different, for we have the advantage of experience.

But how do we react when our children make a mistake? When they treat someone badly or without respect? When they moan or complain about a gift Auntie Irene saved up for especially to buy them? Do we chastise them? Do we castigate and berate them, and in doing so make them feel worthless and stupid, leaving them crestfallen and feeling misunderstood?

Or do we strive to educate and assist them? Attempt to understand how the mistake could possibly have been made and help them learn from their error in judgment? This is surely our role as parents. Empathise, show consideration and in doing so teach future generations to do the same.

Reading certain comments following a story about the McCanns recently, I was left shaking my head in genuine disbelief and surprise at the level of aggression and vitriol displayed. I am not a religious person but I do believe in humanity and that is what I intend to pass on to my daughter.

Love, compassion and forgiveness. These three values should be, in my opinion part of our daily lives. They are not luxuries but fundamental to a decent society.

I am not a religious person though I hope you will forgive me for quoting the Dalai Lama, a man for whom I have great respect:

"My religion is simple. My religion is kindness"

Whichever path my daughter chooses to take in life, it is my deepest and most sincere wish that she be kind and show an empathy and understanding for others.

What do you think?
Is the author right? Is it important to teach our children the value of love and compassion?
Are we too judgemental as a society?

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