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Capacity to Care

Children seem to have an innate capacity to care. They seem to care about their materials, spaces, experiences, and other humans. So, why does the capacity to care seem to be suppressed in some and not others?

Based on my observations, we encourage certain behaviors based on socially acceptable norms. For example, discouraging crying in young humans may suppress emotions and send the message that they are not valued. Alternatively, by encouraging behaviors that make young humans feel power in caring for others, we can build and nurture this capacity to care.

When adults allow young humans to explore caring experiences, they provide them with the power that fuels and nurtures the capacity to care.

When we take away their power, young humans may grow up feeling angry and resentful. When people feel this way they may be unable to care for others as the focus is on themselves and how to regain power wherever they can.

Regardless of gender, young humans have a capacity to care. It is imperative to create an environment where caring is important and valued. I believe that you cannot give what you have not experienced. For example, when a young human has not experienced care, then they may not know how to provide care to another human. Modeling is a powerful tool that could be used to show when and how to care.

In the video above, Max observed that another child was crying and that a caregiver had picked up the child and patted their back. Max picked up a doll and patted the doll's back seemingly comforting the doll.

In the video above, Max had observed a caregiver cleaning the table after lunch and pointed to the paper towel. The caregiver gave Max a piece of paper towel and he began to wipe the table, seemingly mirroring the caregiver's behavior to care for the environment.

We need to focus our efforts on finding ways to show young humans that we care and provide them with the power to create a space where caring is the norm.

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