An ethic of caring is worth fostering among our children if we want to live in a society that is compassionate and kind.
Research confirms what common sense tells us: the more young people value compassion, kindness, and helping people, the more likely they are to actually help out when the need arises.
That’s why it is important to promote values of caring in our communities, our schools, our families, and our congregations.
This is especially the case these days, when the media messages that bombard our young people are filled with conflicting values — violence, celebrity worship, materialism, and very little of the old-fashioned “sweet” stories young people used to hear and see at every turn.
It is unlikely a young person will develop caring values unless he or she is continually exposed to adults who model and reward them.
This includes parents and teachers, as well as a broad array of other adults and role models as well.
What’s more, it is critical that these values be reinforced in young people’s everyday lives in order to override the competing messages that surround them through music, videos, games, and television.
Though we live in a time when the country appears polarized and fragmented, the goal of fostering an ethic of caring is not impossible to achieve.
It will take a concerted effort among those who value that outcome. It is clear we ALL have our work cut out for us if we want to succeed. I, for one, feel deeply that it is worth the effort.