Today’s culture tends to be intensely focused on children’s happiness and achievements. But the preoccupation with these two factors—and the constant praising of kids that goes with it—can undermine children’s capacity to care for others and their investment in the common good. Further, concentrating so much on achievement and happiness risks making kids not only less caring, but ironically, less happy and less likely to achieve at high levels.
In the current socio-economic climate, where tolerance and empathy seem to be in short supply, it’s more important than ever to help children develop concern for others and our collective fate.
This talk will explore these current trends and provide concrete strategies for raising empathic, caring, justice-minded children who are also happy and able to pursue meaningful achievement.
Richard Weissbourd is currently a senior lecturer in education at HGSE and at the Kennedy School of Government. He is also faculty director of the Human Development and Psychology master's program. His work focuses on vulnerability and resilience in childhood, the achievement gap, moral development, and effective schools and services for children. With Stephanie Jones, he directs the Making Caring Common Project, a national effort to make moral and social development priorities in child-raising and to provide strategies to schools and parents for promoting in children caring, a commitment to justice and other key moral and social capacities.