Much thought is being given to the home-schooling of our children. The details of that will be worked out by those more qualified in early education than I am. However, tucked in to their lessons in maths and grammar, we should take this opportunity to strengthen their understanding of compassion.
The will to be compassionate is caught, not taught. I have always been fascinated by how early in their lives children relate to others in ways which are so similar to the way that their primary carers do.
With regards to compassion, there is one aspect in which young people are the motivators, and that is in the matter of the environment. School-going children and young adults have been initiated into the vocabulary of environmentalism; they get the link between how we treat the planet and how we treat each other.
Recently, I did a workshop on caring for the planet in a community school in Dublin, with teenagers. They delighted me with their knowledge and understanding and their searching political questions on green issues. Principally, they were concerned about the lack of compassion we show for all sentient creatures: the loss of ‘wild’ habitats; intensive farming methods, animals who never see the light of day, elephants hunted for their tusks and giraffes for their tails.
So, in the next few weeks, while children are learning about the world from the semi-confinement of their homes, I will post material especially for them. You will find it under Eco. It will include an invitation to blog about local green issues. In addition, I will post an original collection of green poems for young people.