The Making Caring Common Project has been discussed on Good Morning America and the TODAY Show; THE CHILDREN WE MEAN TO RAISE: The Real Messages Adults Are Sending About Values. The report discussed was compiled by the Project group, a division of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Ten years of research went into this report. It illustrates a rhetoric/reality gap between what parents and educators are saying that their top priorities and the real messages conveyed to children about caring and fairness. Listed below are just a few of the takeaways learned from the research:
· Making Caring Common surveyed 10,000 middle and high school students from 33 diverse schools across the nation.
· They found that a large majority of children value aspects of personal success—achievement and happiness—over caring for others.
· In addition, the majority children believe their parents and teachers care more about achievement or happiness than about caring for others, too.
· Ironically, the research shows that prioritizing happiness and success doesn’t make kids happier or more caring.
· Adults claim they are saying the right things to promote caring, but kids are not grasping the message – which suggest parents and teachers are not walking the talk.
· Based on the research and experience Making Caring Common suggests several straightforward strategies for parents and educators to help youth develop key social, emotional and ethical capacities.
Too many times it seems as though parents are too busy trying to support their families and do not have enough free time to teach the essence of life. Perhaps they think they are teaching the correct lessons, but teaching is doing and if they are not doing, then the lesson fails to be reinforced, so it is more of a dictatorship than a working together type of a project.
Americans have so many ‘things’ that many times children have a difficult time deciphering if ‘stuff’ and the ability to get ‘stuff’ is what the key to life actually is. While the research does show that prioritizing happiness and success doesn’t have a thing to do with creating happier or more caring children, when people are happier they are more caring and vice versa.
Besides parents and teachers, there are many more role models and mentors out there that can teach caring to children but again, they need to walk the talk in order to get the full point across. The Making Caring Common Project will prove much more as we continue our exploration of the results. Stay tuned to see how parents can tweak their behavior in order to change their children’s behavior.