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01:17 PM on 03/16/2011
The incredible reality is that empathy and caring isn't something that can be forced upon an individual let alone a child - the experiential activities provided are a great start.

With the primary issue being that attention is being pulled in so many directions and pressures to conform to a certain norm rising, there is a massive disconnect from Self-Awareness - a key component for Emotional Intelligence and Empathy.

Meditation is one of the most powerful tools that we have to re-connect ourselves and our youth to Self-Awareness, which ultimately increases our sense of connectedness with others and our emotional competence to relate and empathize.

I've written an article on developing Communication & Empathy with Modern Meditation for anybody interested.

Great article thank you for sharing this insight to the reality our youth is facing.
12:37 PM on 03/16/2011
Parents these days are so afraid of being to "strict". Is it not your responsibility to mold a child to be respectful, compassionate, honest, and humble. Parents are scared of being overly strict & I fail to understand how they cannot not see that it is not about being their "friend". Parenting is a commitment of love, & responsibility for who you are and who your children will become. Kids reflect the depth or shallowness of moral guidance their parents pass on. Today's kids are rude, egocentric, vain, & greedy. Our dependance on technology has made kids lazy and they lack parental guidance! They have no manners, public decency, respect, or pride. Today's parents think it is everyone else’s problem their kids are not liked or "misunderstood".....PLEASE! Stop apologizing for their poor people skills that you passed on to them directly. A parent’s failure to lead by example how to be civil and aware of how their actions can affect many people is EPIC. Children today are nowhere near as respectful compared to 4 or 5 generations ago. Parents truly "raised" well manner kids that were prepared for adulthood, they were resiliant, respectful, tough, and stood up for what was right at any cost. Now we just let them decide for themselves how to act and parents give up, they "Care-less" what type adult their kids will turn out to be. Kids are not the problem and exactly why the article was titled as such. Be parents, not friends!
DrSnuggles
You label me and I'll label you
11:58 AM on 03/16/2011
I agree with the jist of this article, the rise of the internet and more passive group activities has definitely left a dirth of empathy within some of the more recent generations. I could give examples from people I know - it seems pretty clear that those who spent more time in social activities in high school have less of a sense of self-entitlement.

Question though; how in the world do you measure empathy?
04:43 PM on 03/16/2011
I'm not sure how they measured empathy, but how people handle certain situations help gauge someone's empathy. As YouTube has shown, kids will bully and beat a kid right in front of other children, and everyone just pretends they don't see it. An old woman can't reach something in a store, and no one tries to help. In fact, I've seen some younger people pretend not to hear the old woman when she asks!

I'm 27, and I will shamefully admit that I do similar things. I really do live my life like I'm too important to be bothered. Hopefully by recognizing that fact about myself, I can mature and move past that behavior. Maybe our country's youth problem is a delay in maturation rather than lack of empathy...
02:08 PM on 03/17/2011
Great to hear such honesty. You seem to recognize that a lack of empathy is a problem in your life. It also may be that seeing yourself so clearly is, in itself, a form of caring about others. What do you think leads to maturity? Thanks for all the comments.
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kyeshinka
11:29 AM on 03/16/2011
It's easy to blame young people because lazy people find the easiest excuses. Not all people are like this, but others are brought up this way; they're not born conceited. There are other things at work besides poor upbringing. Look at the state of the economy the older generations are leaving to the young. Perhaps the young are behaving like this because they know there is no point in developing the required social skills to develop into functional members of society. In spite the hopeless optimism of ther parents, kids know there will be no jobs, no affordable universities, no reason to improve themselves. I doubt there will be free public schools in a few years. We spent the last decade blowing trillions of dollars locking up pot smokers, blowing up Afghanistan and chasing bin Laden around Baghdad and, in short, put our country on pause. Now we're in debt, unemployable, fat, chronically ill, and an international joke. And now there is no future, so why care? None of that can be blamed on the young, so quit blaming them.
04:39 PM on 03/16/2011
Well, in 20 years when the young are self-centered middle-aged people and the country is even worse, we'll get to blame them (me).
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Johnagain
WTFWJD?
05:31 PM on 03/16/2011
Good points. I'm 47. The people of my generation +/- a decade or so have a lot to answer for.
11:25 AM on 03/16/2011
As one of the care-less youth, I have noticed this trend, also. I honestly don't care about people that much. I have no idea why...sometimes I fake it so people don't think I'm totally self-centered. It's kind of a two-fold issue, though. More and more people are selfish and therefore demand more attention/affection/help from people. But because we're all so selfish, we also DENY everyone else their attention/affection/help. It's ridiculous. My mom grew up in a small town, and she always talks about how wonderful it was to have that community feeling...to know that your neighbor would watch your house while you were on vacation and give you a dollar or two when you're short at the register.

Personally, I think that sounds awful. It sounds like I would have a bunch of people in my business all the time. I don't like having people know what I'm doing constantly. I hate it when people 'drop by.' I see the difference between my generation and my parents' generation, but I honestly have no idea how to explain it. I didn't grow up watching a lot of TV, so I can't blame it on the 24-hr news cycle.
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CoastalNC
Good thoughts create good things
04:03 PM on 03/16/2011
Hi craftycrow....I'm from your Mom's generation probably...

When people use to "drop by" to visit it wasn't about being in your business or wanting to know what you were doing.....it was about friendship and wanting to share time and HOW you were doing because they enjoyed your company and cared about you. It was nice, really.

:-)
04:36 PM on 03/16/2011
Haha...I know. You sound exactly like my mom. :) I can see what you and she are saying...It just doesn't click for me. As soon as someone knocks on my door, I'm like, "oh jeeeeez who's this?!" I really am unfriendly. My older neighbors always try to talk to me when I'm outside, and I wish they'd go away. And as I hear myself thinking that I realize how bad I've gotten. It's so foreign to me...how you and my mom think. The one thing I have learned, though, is that even if I have to fake it, I'll do those little things to make my mom happy. I'll send her cards even though we only live 3 miles apart. I drop by and bring her cookies or brownies and chat for a few hours. I know she likes that, so I do it. There must've been something in the water when my generation was born or something. LOL
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lisakaz2
Da ministero dell'interno di Snark.
05:32 PM on 03/16/2011
There's a difference between lending a hand and passing judgment. The two look the same to you because the GOPee pols seems to believe in the latter, not the former.
10:24 AM on 03/16/2011
I believe this is true. One of my children is at college now. He and I have had numerous discussion on the "Dream Act" and illegal immigrants who came to the US as children and the problems they face once they graduate from high school. (I am in favor.)

One of his professors invited 4 of illegal kids to come and speak to his class about their lives as people who are not citizens but who were brought to the US as children, educated here and feel they are Americans but (they) are not legal citizens. They were speaking on behalf of the "Dream Act".

My son said it was so moving and some of them cried and said they wanted to go to college like other American kids and they talked about their future here in the US. He said it was very powerful to hear them talk instead of just reading about plight of these kids.

Coming face to face with kids their own age, who told their stories of being illegal in a country where they have been raised and felt like they were American but were not on paper. Everyone in the class left in support of the Dream Act; now awakened by the personal contact of people who are powerless to make a better life for themselves without citizenship.
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deltalady
02:57 PM on 03/16/2011
To raise a compassionate child you must teach that child that his behavior has consequences, both for himself and for others. Most of my friends' kids have been so spoiled that they can't deal with life unless Mom or Dad provide a cushion for them. I was a fat little poor kid and believe me, I was bullied in school. But one must move on. We actually had toys made out of metal with sharp corners and we survived. I was raised by a single mother long before it became so fashionable and I had to learn to accept, "I'm sorry, baby, we can't afford that now." But I always had food on the table and a roof over my head.
05:11 PM on 03/16/2011
It's tough raising children today. There are a lot of enabler-parents and safety net-parents who provide everything for their kids in terms of financial advantages. Some are spoiled but I do know a few who are very nice kids even tho they come from money and never have to want for anything.

We don't spoil our kids and they are not given things like cars. But we make sure they get a college education.
05:48 PM on 03/16/2011
So true deltalady.
03:57 PM on 03/16/2011
So if it was matter of being able to send your kid to college or allowing the illegal kid to go to college, which would you choose if only one could go? Do you really think it's fair to withhold monies for your child's schooling so Mexico's children can go in their place? This is really what it's come down to. And if you support that then your child has every reason to be disrespectful to you and any other adult who thinks this is okay.
10:00 PM on 03/16/2011
In my world, there is no either or...just what's FAIR. It's not fair to deny any kid a college education if they can gain admittance regardless of their country or origin. We need all the talented minds on the planet to pull us out of what seems to be a system of ignorance and political hubris when he comes to who is born where or by whom? We are all human brothers and sisters and should want the best for each of us.

Education is the key to seeing the big picture and not a narrow prejudicial one that only has room for the few and not the many.

No one is withholding money so Mexico's children can go to college in place of American children. Do some research. Getting into college requires hard work for all students. If someone earns it, then they deserve an education.

I can see that you don't understand the college acceptance process. There are many, many foreign students who go to American colleges because they are superior students. Colleges and Universities are the rare places that do not discriminate.
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10:00 AM on 03/16/2011
Oh, yes. I believe these results. You can see a lack of compassion in our youth everyday. Just watch them at the malls, in restaurants, etc. They don't care about others. Just themselves. We're raising a generation of spoiled brats. They don't do anything for themselves - Mommy and Daddy need to provide all! Their heroes are professional athletes who turn out to be thugs, rap stars who end up in jail, and reality TV stars who end up in rehab. And, this is the workforce of the future? Scary thought...
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Florida1966
Why are you reading my micro-bio?
10:35 AM on 03/16/2011
These same children are learning early on that the government should be responsible for providing for them. No insurance? Government run healthcare, who cares if the quality of medical care is sub-par, it's cheap. No job? It's OK, welfare, unemployment, why try at all, the government will take care of you, so what if it's not that much, it's better than working right? That's not a slam at those who have lost their jobs in the economic downturn, it's a slam at the youth of America who don't care about a job unless it will pay them enough to have a home on MTV cribs like Lebron James. The backbone that built this country is being turned into a quivering mass of jelly filled with crying have nots who are not willing to improve their situation by working towards something better.
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Thomas Bradley
12:31 PM on 03/16/2011
We shouldn't foist all of this on the federal government. Personal responsibility and choice still plays a critical role in the outlook people have toward each other.

My wife is an HGTV addict. There's a show on there called "House Hunters International," on which people look for homes in far-flung locales -- often in third-world or at best developing nations -- either as new homes because of job transfers or as "vacation homes." Invariably, you'll hear them complain about the small size of bedrooms and bathrooms, in complete obliviousness to the fact that less than a mile from where they stand, citizens of that same country do not have access to clean water and may be living on a single meal a day. Those people are spoiled by their McMansions in Wherever, USA, and believe they are entitled to live in the same style of home with all the attendant amenities in another country simply because they do so here in the States.

My point is, our consumer-driven society, with major corporations and advertising/marketing agencies at the helm, have inured us to expect and even demand immediate self-gratification above and beyond caring for or even thinking about those around us. We've become embarrassingly self-centered as a result, which is a trait our children are learning as "normal" behavior at an increasingly younger age.
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CoastalNC
Good thoughts create good things
04:10 PM on 03/16/2011
Some of those children are learning hard lessons....and finding out that if you don't have a job you can't eat and have a place to live when Mommy and Daddy quit providing. They still have time to learn, some just take longer and make it harder than it should have been.
01:53 PM on 03/16/2011
Empathy and compassion are not the same thing.