When I was in elementary school teachers used "the ABCs" as a shorthand phrase for the alphabet, a fundamental building block of learning to read. While the traditional ABCs are as crucial as they ever were when it comes to reading, there is another set of ABCs which, in their own way, are equally important to learning: Attention, Balance and Compassion. A strong capacity to pay attention helps kids and teens stay on task and do well in school. But attention without a context is only part of what kids and teens need to flourish in our complex and ever changing world. They also need Balance and Compassion. Emotional balance allows children and teens to see what's happening in their inner and outer worlds clearly without an emotional charge, and compassion is the lens or perspective that allows kids to see both sides of an issue at home and in school. Thus, it's important our kids learn a new set of ABCs too -- one that draws upon the very old values of Attention, Balance and Compassion.
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