One of H.E.A.R.’s essential partners, Making Caring Common Project (MCCP), at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I recently had the privilege of joining about 30 forward-thinkers at a MCCP workshop, entitled “Making Caring Count Again in Schools, Homes and Communities: Changing Social Norms through Collective Action.” The workshop was facilitated by its co-directors, Drs. Rick Weissbourd and Stephanie Jones (who also happen to be two of the three HEAR authors). We reviewed relevant data and discussed ways to support and inspire a needed movement to raise children who demonstrate more kindness, more respect, and more social responsibility. I came away invigorated with purpose, hope, new friends and a greater appreciation of HEAR as a vehicle for change. I want to share just a few of the many thought-provoking ideas that emerged from the day:
- Data show young people prioritize achievement and happiness over caring for others. They also believe adults place the highest priority on achievement.
- Children are creators of culture. Imagine our future if children are nurtured in families and schools that emphasize not only performance characteristics (e.g., working hard to make good grades) but also moral characteristics (e.g., being nice to others). I believe it is possible for children to grow up with both “grit” and grace.
- Let’s rethink “success.” I believe most of us equate success with happiness. If happiness is characterized by positive emotions, then building healthy relationships and reducing stress, anxiety and the related sense of “never enough” seem key.
To conclude, I leave you with an image of the day. This is the group on a break. Even during breaks, the conversations were engaging!