Living a Compassionate Life
As a mother, I try to be as mindful as possible when teaching valuable lessons to my child. As parents, we are laying the groundwork for our children's emotional capacity, and as such, we must be educated ourselves in the ways of the heart. Our humanity is a valuable tool to teach them with.
Being mindful involves learning to be more aware of life as it unfolds around us. But how do we deal with these moments which bring those around us pain or suffering? This is a challenge we face as vegans at many points in our lives. I suggest that the key is to learn how to meet life head-on with mindfulness, heartfulness, and compassion.
We all have the capacity for compassion as it is a human quality possessed by all, but for many, this emotion was never fully developed. Thankfully, compassion can be nurtured and grow through practice.
Expanding on the Golden Rule
We have all heard that following The Golden Rule - Treat others as you want to be treated yourself - is how we should conduct ourselves. This philosophy only speaks to 'others' (implying humans) and not all living beings. This dramatically falls short of a much more rewarding goal of being compassionate to ALL living beings and, by extension, the Earth.
Since mindfulness and compassion in our children can be developed through constant effort, parents need to create the favourable conditions that give rise to kindness. Also, to challenge them to identify situations where there is unkind behaviour and how to address it. To be strong and bully-proof.
There has never been a time more crucial in history for us to lead a life of constant mindfulness and compassionate behaviour so that our actions teach all those around us.
Making mindfulness a part of everyday life will ensure whenever a new teachable moment arises, we can recognize it immediately - whether the circumstances are positive or negative - and use the situation to assist in developing compassion and a good heart.
Homework for Parents
It will be more work for us as parents but isn't pursuing compassion a wonderful choice that will enhance the development of compassion and a good heart? Whether it is celebrating our differences, understanding complex emotions, or recognizing others' needs, each lesson plays a fundamental part in raising compassionate, empowered kids.
Reading with your family is a compassion building activity and one that you should make a regular habit of. I have written and illustrated a beautiful series of books that create teachable moments for your little ones. Please visit Compassionate Press to see which are perfect for you!