Sunday, March 27, 2005

Teaching empathy.

Tonight for T's bedtime story I decided that we would talk about A and T the superheros. "Superheros do good for their community, right T?" I asked.
"Your first task is to get Amanda's kitty Emily down from a high tree. How are you going to do that?"
T thought for only a moment, then his face light up: "We can fly!" He said.
"Great, you flew up there and got the kitty down, now what did she say?"
"Meow." Said Tom.
I laughed inside at Tom's correct grammatical interpretation of my question. "Great, and what did Amanda say?"
"She said thanks."
"Your next task is to help a little old lady across the street. How are you going to do it?"
"I can grab her arm and A can carry her walker."
"Awesome! And how did that make the woman feel?"
"Good. She said thanks too."
"Next you read a sign on a phone pole that there was a lost dog in the neighborhood."
"What's a phone pole?" T asked.
"It is a pole that holds up the wires that we use to talk on the telephone. Our voices travel over those wires to get to the other phone."
"You guy's have super hearing, you know?"
"Yeah, we can hear the dog!"
"Yes! You flew up and found the dog. Then you brought him home to his family."
"That's 3 good deeds. Good work, time for bed."
"One more Daddy!"
I was cooked, but one more good deed would be OK. I thought for a second.
"You flew by the park and saw some kids running away from another boy. You could tell the boy just wanted to be part of the fun, but the kids kept running away, calling him the monster. What did you and A do?"
This one was a reach. I was not sure what T would say. I was fishing for him to tell the kids to include the boy in their group. T came up with a better idea.
"We could play with him." was T's reply.
I was so proud of him. Another moment when my heart leapt in my throat.
"Yes Tom, that is an excellent idea."
I kissed my angel and turned out the lights. I stretched on his floor for 30 seconds until he started snoring like a chainsaw.

How do you teach values? Do you have any other times of day that are perfect times for this activity?

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