Nurturing Compassion

The Peaceful Parenting Newsletter
Issue #11
A free e-mail newsletter from Naomi Drew

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle
or the mirror that reflects it.
Edith Wharton

Dear Friends,

A simple but profound way you can give to others and create more peace is through acts of compassion. Compassion is a healing force. When we come from a place of compassion, we bring peace and healing to those around us, and ultimately to the larger world. It creates a ripple effect.

Compassionate people feel the feelingsof others. It is not just about noticing how they feel, it is about tearing up when you see someone cry, or saying ouch when you see someone hurt. Offering compassion is a magnanimous act; it requires us see beyond our own needs, and open our hearts to another.

One of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them compassion. Below you will find four steps to help you do this, excerpted from my upcoming book, Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World, which will be released this September.

Love to all of you,
Naomi Drew
Author, Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids.

Teaching Compassion to Children

- Model compassion yourself. In front of your children make it a point to express care for people you may not even know. For example, you might say, That little girl over there just fell down. I hope she didn’t hurt herself. Does she look hurt to you? Or, I don’t wear this coat much anymore. I think I’ll donate it to the homeless. The temperature is dropping and people who don’t have a place to live might be cold.
Through simple expressions of care like these, children learn the habit of compassion.

- Help your child identify his own feelings. Compassion begins with the way we treat ourselves. It is important to be able to name the emotions we feel and honor them. Once we can do this for ourselves, we are better able to do it for others. Help your child identify such emotions as fearfulness, anger, frustration, and embarrassment in himself. The next step is to help him name these emotions in others. You can start doing this with characters on TV and in books. Then do the same with people you come in contact with.

- Ask your child to reflect on his or her actions and how they affect others.
Here’s what one mother shared:

My younger son was crying. My middle son just walked right by him. I said, Jake, your brother is crying. Jake looked at me and said: But I’m not the one who hurt him. It was then that I realized I needed to teach Jake to be more empathic. I said: Honey, If someone is hurt, they need your help even if you are not the one who hurt them. Just walking by makes people feel like you don’t care.

Compassion and empathy can be taught. Use opportunities like this one to help your children tune in to the feelings of others.

- Tell your child how you feel when he says or does something to upset you.
Amy, what you just said really hurt. Adults have feelings too, is the kind of statement you can make to your child. Or, When you say that kind of thing I feel angry. Words have power. Let your child know the ramifications of the words she chooses to speak.

The same applies to actions: Jonathan, when you disregard what I ask you to do, I feel disrespected. Our children need to be accountable for what they say and what they do. By letting them see the impact of their actions, we guide them to understand our feelings and the feelings of others.

- Reach out and make a difference in the lives of others. More than anything this teaches compassion. Psychologist and author Robert Brooks says:

A child or adult's self-worth, dignity, hope, and resilience are nurtured when engaged in acts of caring. While being compassionate to others, we add value and meaning to our own life.

What acts of compassion can you and your family engage in?

Nobel nominee and author Thich Naht Hanh says:

Compassion is a verb.

It is an action word. Here are some websites you and your children can go to so you can find out how other children have taken action to express compassion, and how your family or school can do it too.

The Giraffe Project:
Learn about people of all ages who have stuck their necks out for the common good.

Every Act of Compassion
Makes a Difference!
Every Day Counts
for A Better World

This website for kids includes stories and activities
If you would like to to schedule a works hop or speaking engagement, please contact me at or call 609-844-1138.

Peaceful Parenting Coaching

Peaceful Parenting Coaching enables parents to work individually, as couples, or with their children on practical strategies that create greater harmony, less conflict. Sessions can be done by phone or in person. Crisis coaching is also available.
To schedule a complimentary Peaceful Parenting coaching session by phone, e-mail Naomi Drew at or call 609-844-1138.

Naomi Drew is the author of three books, all available through
Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids (Kensington Publishers)
Learning the Skills of Peacemaking (Jalmar Press)
The Peaceful Classroom in Action (Jalmar Press)

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Copyright Naomi Drew, August, 2001 All Rights Reserved.
This content may be forwarded in full, with copyright/contact/creation information intact,without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from the author is required.

Love and Peace to All of You.


Copyright © 2002 by Naomi Drew. All rights reserved. Site Map