Seeing that it’s Bullying Prevention Month, we’ve dedicated our October newsletter to cultivating bullying’s archenemy: empathy. At the heart of this hardwired and important quality is the ability to relate deeply to another person’s experience. So, for example, when your child sees you a bit stressed out at dinnertime, he or she empathizes with you and offers to help (we can dream, can’t we?).
Seriously though, being able to “get” someone—to imagine what it feels like to be in another person’s shoes—is a key deterrent to bullying. What follows are ideas from Dr. Anne Fishel for modeling and fostering empathy at our favorite place: the dinner table. In later sections, you’ll also find a game suggestion and conversation starters that help to do the same. And for even more resources and help around bullying, check out the Pacer National Bullying Prevention Center.
It’s harvest time and we wanted to check in with friends across the country to see what they’re cooking from their native harvests. Here are three delicious recipes that reflect the agricultural diversity we found from Maine, to Minnesota, to Maui. Enjoy!
Maine: Autumn Chicken with Cranberries
Minnesota: Chicken Waldorf Salad
Maui: Avocado and Mango Salad
“Guess the Emotion”
Guess that Emotion
This is a good game to help children learn to identify feelings. Have one person leave the table for a minute. Once she leaves, the rest of the family decides on an emotion (or you can pick out of a hat).
Some examples include:
When the missing family member returns to the table, the rest of the family eats and acts with that feeling in mind. For example, if the emotion is “worry,” someone might say “I have so much homework tonight I’m never going to get to sleep.” Or you can make it a bit more challenging for older kids by allowing only body language and facial expression to convey emotion, or even just facial expression alone.
As our children head back to school, they will meet people who are different from them – people with different backgrounds, traditions, experiences and beliefs. Approaching and talking to people who are different from us offers an incredible opportunity to expand our view of the world. Our conversation starters this month are all about dealing with difference – and exploring qualities such as being open-minded, adaptable and tolerant of others.