In the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford, we believe in educating the whole child, mind, body, and soul. Our commitment to integrating core values into everything we do, inside and outside of the classroom, begins with two essential virtues: acceptance and respect.
The Bible declares that every human being has unlimited potential and we must protect the dignity of all:
Peter 3:8 8
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Practicing Acceptance in Our Catholic Schools
In our blog “Creating a World of Good,” we discussed our pledge to “provide a safe, secure atmosphere that cultivates self-worth in our students, which in turn, allows them to see the worth in others. This respect is apparent in our diverse classrooms and mutually respectful community, full of students and families from all cultural, socioeconomic, and faith backgrounds.”
Practicing acceptance is fundamental component of creating a positive school culture.
Why Peer Acceptance Is Important
The Encyclopedia of Children’s Health explains:
Peer acceptance and relationships are important to children's social and emotional development … [they] provide a wide range of learning and development opportunities for children. These include companionship, recreation, building social skills, participating in group problem solving, and managing competition and conflict. They also allow for self-exploration, emotional growth, and moral and ethical development … it is among other children that kids learn how to interact with each other.
Fostering Acceptance in School-Age Children
Lead by example. Have you ever noticed how young children pay very little attention to differences? Often, the tendency to reject others who are different is learned behavior. Because of this, it is extremely important for you, the parents/guardians, to teach your child(ren) by example how to practice acceptance of others. After all, you are your child's first and most important role models.
Teach empathy. Empathy is defined by Catholic Culture.org as: “A function of the virtue of charity by which a person enters into another’s feelings, needs, and sufferings.” In other words, help your child understand what it might be like to be in the other person’s shoes. Not sure where to start? “How to Nurture Empathy in Kids—and Why It's So Important” is a great article created for parents just like you.
Introduce your child to diversity. In recent years, society in general has become much more accepting of people who are different, and so many resources are now available to learn about how diverse the human race is. No matter where you go, you’ll come across people of all shapes and sizes, which can open up conversation on the topic. You can also find a list of books focusing on diversity for different age groups on edutopia.
Accepting and celebrating diversity is one important way that we can live in Jesus’s image. And it is something we can all easily do.
How do you teach your child about acceptance? Let us know on our social media.