Research shows that teens today are 40% less empathetic than they were thirty years ago (Dr. Michele Borba), and 62% of Americans say kids are less kind than they were in the past (NBC News State of Kindness Poll, 2015).
And, for us special needs moms, that scares the heck out of us. I want my disabled son to be included. And, I want my non-disabled child to be kind and to include others.
Luckily, we are not alone in this. Hasbro (yes, that Hasbro!) has recognized this need and has partnered with some great organizations and created the Be Fearless and Be Kind campaign.
Contrary to what we’ve been told about our kids over and over, especially those on the spectrum, you can be taught empathy. Our kids do not lack empathy nor are they wired to be unkind. You can teach empathy and compassion and Hasbro is leading the way in making this available to parents and teachers.
This is their plan:
- Our call to action is simple: BE FEARLESS BE KIND. We know it’s not always easy to be kind. If often takes courage to do the right thing. That’s why we use the words BE FEARLESS BE KIND.
- This is about empathy in action.
- We’re providing parents and educators tools to teach empathy. And for kids, we’re offering programs to inspire action, and role models they can relate to.
- We want kids to stand up for others, include everyone, and take action when they see a problem.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? So let’s get the details. First, they are offering a FREE empathy tool kit, you can get it here.
That is just one of many of the other resources they have compiled. Check out the complete list of teaching empathy resources.
And, check this out–
- Hasbro is entering a new relationship with Special Olympics, supporting their Unified Strategy for Schools.
- Our support will recognize a student who has shown extraordinary empathic leadership with the “Hasbro Kindness Award” in states where we have offices (Rhode Island, WA, CA, FL).
- We will also be supporting the expansion of the Unified program globally in seven different countries (Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Italy, Mexico, UK).
- The Unified Strategy for Schools program facilitates sports and education initiatives of Special Olympics in schools to:
- Foster respect and dignity for people with intellectual disabilities
- Change actions and attitudes among their peers without intellectual disabilities.
- Promote social inclusion for all and a positive school climate
- An established Unified club supports Special Olympics sports programming by conducting awareness activities, recruiting fans in the stands for games, hosting pep rallies and other awareness and inclusion activities that engage the entire school.
- These activities may promote an inclusive homecoming court, or an inclusive prom or dance. Further, Unified programming can result in the formation of other clubs such as a lunch buddy club or partners at recess.
- As a result of these activities, teachers see more involvement between special and general education, and may include special needs students in more classroom activities, or other opportunities. It looks different in every school, but true success happens with clubs and teams in the schools that connect on a variety of activities.
It is important to note, this isn’t an anti-bullying program. Preventing bullying is just one small piece of this–a part of a much larger goal. It’s not always easy to be kind and it sometimes takes a lot of courage to do the right thing. But with moms, dads, teachers and Hasbro behind this…I think we can make the world a better place for our kids.
So there you go, you have the resources, go forth and create change. Tell your teachers, your scout leaders, your Sunday school teachers….let’s make sure that this gets shared.
Here are some of the books on their resource list: