Important Lessons from Our Children

My 10-year old daughter wanted me to read something last night. It turned out she had been working as a co-editor of her school's newspaper this year and the third issue just came out. There was a piece on the environment, but what caught my attention was a page describing several clubs at the school. My daughter wrote specifically about the "Kindness Club". These days, I would, every now and then, see a post on Facebook from the Philippines clamoring for the return of teaching good manners and right conduct (GMRC) in schools, but as the Department of Education has clarified: "Age appropriate values education and the lessons that are relevant and appropriate for our learners are being taught to students from kinder to grade 12." There is nothing wrong in teaching GMRC except that sometimes, our behavior simply becomes beholden to a set of rules. Children learn not because they wanted to, but because they ought to. Worse, it occasionally degrades into a sense of self-righteousness. Kindness is different. It is not merely following the rules. It involves positive action.

Making blankets for dogs in shelter is an act of kindness. Caring for the environment likewise is an act of kindness.

GMRC can actually come naturally from kind children.

We could really learn a thing or two from our children.

Similar to the United States, children in Philippine schools experience bullying. According to PISA 2018, in the Philippines, 65% of students reported being bullied at least a few times a month, compared to 23% on average across OECD countries. Bullies can demand GMRC from children they bully, but only kindness leaves no room for bullying.