It is vital that when educating our children’s brains that we do not neglect to educate their hearts. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
Some people (the character of W.C.Fields would be a great example) have no love for children in their heart. But even the hardest hearted among us understand that the children are the next generation of adults.
Most will also realize that they have to be educated in how the world works. This applies both to the things of math and science, as well as the things of inter-personal relationships. To me, that is what this quote is all about. Educating the next generation of humans to know not only science and math, but the skills of the heart.
Why is education of the heart important?
While there may be some room for discussion as to whom should teach what to the children (schools, government or private, vs parents), it should be fairly obvious that the kids need some kind of education in matters of the heart.
Please note that I’m not talking about romantic love, but instead mean things like caring, compassion, nurturing, and the like. Too many only see the ugly side of the heart on the playground and in the classroom, the closed hearts, the hardened hearts. Bullies, fights, and meanness, it is on parade in schools all over the world.
If you’ve watched many science fiction movies, you’ve probably run across a few that fit the term ‘dystopia.’ Often, some portion of the emotional bonds we would consider normal have been somehow altered, and for the worse. It’s not too hard to imagine a world run by adults who lacked education of the heart. The book ‘Lord of the Flies‘ would be an excellent example.
The opposite is my desire for the future of humanity, a world where people actually care about one another. In my mind, the trio is love, hate, and apathy. It takes me no more effort to use my heart in a positive manner than it does to use it in a negative manner. I would hope that people can reduce their negative use of their heart and use that energy to help others with the positive use of their heart.
Where can I apply this in my life?
What do you do with your life? How much time do you spend with your heart in a negative place, compared to a positive place? For me, it seems that each side takes the same energy, so I see the negative side as stealing energy from the positive side, so I try to go negative as little as possible.
Tying back into the quote, how often are you around children? This could be anything from infants to still impressionable twenty-somethings. Yeah, I’ll get some grief for that, but I believe that a proper human should make sure that they remain impressionable through their entire life.
The point is what influence do you have with the younger generations? Even if it’s your own kids, or grand-kids, what do you do to help them avoid the waste of energy of a negative heart, or steer them towards the rewards of a positive heart?
If you deal with kids in other areas, what do you do, and what can you do, to help them understand their hearts? Examples of kindness, compassion, understanding, and love for others would count.
There are plenty of formal organizations that deal with kids, and I presume you will be able to look them up online without me pointing them out to you. What I consider more interesting are the less formal situations you may encounter.
What if you’re out on a walk, and see some kids playing, except one (or more) isn’t playing fair. Do you walk by and ignore the situation, or do you try to interrupt the pattern? You don’t have to yell or lecture, but something as simple as asking if you could watch can put a bully or cheat on their best behavior.
It’s not going to be easy to do a lot, if you aren’t in a position of direct influence, but I hope you can see that every little bit helps, and that each one of us can make a difference, however small that may be. If we each do something, no matter how small, it will add up to something so much larger than we can imagine.
I’m going to do my part, what are you willing to do?