Julia is a Dharma student who loves children. Here she shares about teaching virtuous qualities to children in a way that they can understand and enjoy.
I’m watching seven children this summer and am trying to teach them different virtues. So I made a “virtue board” for the kids from an old cookie sheet that I painted with chalkboard paint. Every day I put up a new virtue that everyone is expected to work on. Today’s virtue was Empathy. Feeling as sentient beings feel … it’s the beginning lesson of inter-relatedness for these children.
Yesterday, one of my little friends was about to bury a ladybug. He’s 7 years old, and something about burying things is fun to him. I nearly had a heart attack knowing he was about to kill this lady bug. I took a deep breath and we had a wonderful conversation about not burying it, and about saving it instead. It never occurred to him that burying the ladybug might kill it, harm it, scare it. But when I asked him to imagine someone putting him in a hole and covering him with dirt, he completely changed his perspective.
It’s such delight when these kids get it. They’re so ripe for so many beautiful things! What a treasure this experience is for me. This inspiration comes from all of you among others. Again, inter-relatedness. Thank you!!!
This article is also available in Spanish: El pizarrón de la virtud