Buying a coffee for an old friend. Helping your child up after they’ve fallen in the playground. Making time to call your parents and let them know you’re alright. Passing some change to homeless man. Volunteering for a good cause on the weekend. Protecting a stranger. Offering the elderly man on the train your seat. Smiling while doing these things. That’s kindness.

幫朋友幫帶杯咖啡,幫跌倒的孩子站起來,給爸媽報個平安,給流浪漢一些溫暖,週末從事義工服務,保護不認識的人,在火車上讓位給老人家;而且是懷者真誠的心,帶著微笑在做這些事情。這就是良善。

What is kindness? 什麼是良善?

We live in a time where kindness can be overlooked. Often, children are taught to be nice to their classmates. They are told, “Share the toys with your brother”. We look at these lessons as kindness and doing what is ‘right’. But, are we missing the point? Isn’t kind being different from being ‘fair’ or doing what is ‘right’? Isn’t it more about showing someone that you care and that you can empathize?

這是一個良善容易被忽略的年代。孩子們通常被教導要對同學好,他們被要求:跟弟弟、妹妹們分享玩具。我們將這些當作所謂的”品格教育”,學習做“正確”的事。但是,我們是不是誤解了”良善”兩個字? 良善絕不僅僅是“公平”或做“正確”的事情;更要展現出您的關心與同理。

By accepting ourselves with our flaws, we are able to see the good in others while forgiving their flaws. Through empathy, human beings are able to connect. It’s how we learn to trust one another and how we support the people around us. In turn, the kindness of others has an overwhelming influence on our own lives. Whether our acts can pay for a meal or lift people’s spirits, if we embark on the challenge of sharing kindness everyday, we can make the world a better place.

透過認識自己的缺點,我們可以對他人的缺點有更多寬恕,同時也看到更多的優點。人類就是透過同理心來聯繫彼此,這也是我們學會彼此信任及相互支持的方式;而他人的良善同樣也對我們自身,有深刻的影響。不管是一頓溫暖餐點或著為別人打氣,如果我們每天都試著分享我們的良善,世界會變得更美好。

Why does kindness matter?為什麼良善很重要?

Think about your dearest friends. Those deep and meaningful relationships were built through kindness. If human beings knew no kindness, they wouldn’t be able to form these relationships. Our ability to show our emotions and understand the emotions of others comes from kindness: we accept the situations of dear friends and sympathize offering comfort knowing that if we were in the same position, they would do the same for us. Understanding the emotions of others is a critical skill in the modern workplace and learning how to adapt to how others feel starts with kindness. Whether we are gauging the mood of a meeting, or understanding that a colleague is being overworked, we are able to make judgement calls that can affect business through our emotional intelligence.

想想你最親愛的朋友。如果沒有通過良善,是無法建立彼此深厚的友情。良善使我們能表現情感並理解他人感受,例如:我們會傾聽親友的感受,並給予理解與安慰;因為我們知道,如果換作是自己,他們也會為我們這樣做。了解他人的感受是現代工作場所的一項關鍵技能;透過一顆良善的心,可以幫助我們與他人情緒處之泰然。不管是開會氣氛,還是同事的工作困境,都是可以通過對情感的理解做出判斷,進而影響公司與自己的工作表現。

But what about in the classroom? Being kind to yourself and encouraging that attitude can allow a child to excel. Instead of crumbling in the face of failure, a child can have the confidence to know that mistakes can be forgiven and that though they may not be able to complete a task now, they are able to grow. To create this culture in the classroom, is to promote lifelong learning and a growth mindset.

在教室裡呢?對自己良善並保持這樣的心,可以使孩子表現出色。孩子會充分認識,錯誤是可以被接受的,儘管現在可能無法完成任務,但自己能從中成長茁壯;而不會因為失敗而崩潰逃避。創造這種課堂文化,就是希望孩子能培養終身學習和成長心態。

How do we teach it?我們如何教它?

When asked about what advice they would give about kindness to other children, one girl responded quite profoundly, “It’s an everyday thing in life, that’s the most important thing.” I think that little girl’s statement applies to teachers and students alike. 

當我們問孩子: 關於良善,你們有什麼建議給其他小朋友呢? 一個小女孩深有體會的回答:良善是每天的一部分,是最重要的事情。 這句話不管對老師還是學生都能適用。

In fact, schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District recently put 4-5 year olds through a ‘kindness’ curriculum as part of a research study conducted by University of Wisconsin’s Center for Healthy Minds. The results were startling. Kids who participated achieved high marks in academic assessments and across a number of indicators that typically point to future success.

實際上,作為威斯康辛大學健康心研究中心進行的一項研究的一部分,麥迪遜都會學區的學校最近將4-5歲的孩子接受了“良善”課程。結果令人吃驚。參加比賽的孩子們在學業評估和許多指標上都獲得了很高的評價,這些指標通常都指向未來的成功。

The program focused on awareness. That is, they encouraged children to understand their own emotions, why they were feeling them and how to control them while allowing them to identify the emotions of their peers and empathise. Researchers found that children who were encouraged to inspect at this level showed a greater ability to regulate their own behaviour, stayed focussed in class and develop a positive work-ethic. The ability to control oneself is critical to withstanding the health, financial and career-oriented stresses of later life. The program stresses that emotional, academic and social challenges are largely interlinked within children and teaching kids to cope appropriately while fostering an environment of kindness can improve learning. 

該方案注重自覺。也就是說,他們鼓勵孩子理解自己的情緒,去識別同儕的情緒並給予關心,並問自己為什麼感覺到它們以及如何控制它們。研究人員發現,這群孩子表現出更大的能力來調節自己的行為,並更加專注於課堂並養成積極的職業道德。自我控制對晚年的健康,財務和職業壓力上有至關重要的影響。該計劃強調,情感,學術和社會挑戰在兒童中很大程度上是相互聯繫的,我們必須教導孩子如何適當應對,並同時營造一種友善的環境可以改善學習。

Using a number of hands-on activities, the program was able to achieve greater mental flexibility and a decrease in typically selfish behaviour. This, of course, was in addition to improved academics. One exercise, called ‘Belly Buddies’, involved having the kids lie on their backs with a small stone on their tummies while listening to music. The sense of calm allowed the kids to very actively perceive the sensation of the stone and provide clarity in thought for them. Anyone who has ever met a child would know that they often have a million different ideas all at the same time. 

通過許多的親身實踐的活動,能夠獲得更大的心理靈活性,並減少典型的自私行為;當然,也額外提高孩子的學業表現。一種名為“肚皮好友”的練習,是讓孩子們一邊聽音樂一邊躺在他們的背上,在他們的肚子上放一塊小石頭。平靜的感覺使孩子們可以非常積極地感知石頭的感覺,並為他們提供思路清晰的信息。曾經與孩子相處過的人都知道,他們經常同時擁有一百萬個不同的想法。

Incorporating kindness into the curriculum allows it to become an ‘everyday thing’. It boosts academic achievement while allowing a child to organize their thoughts and be considerate of the thoughts of others. It brings a sense of self-control and improved focus. More than that though, it fosters a positive classroom environment where everyone stands to benefit exponentially. By equipping our children with these social and emotional skills in tandem with academic rigour, we can raise a successful, conscientious and powerful generation of adults.

將良善納入課程表可以使其成為“日常事物”。它提高了學業成績,同時讓孩子能夠組織自己的思想並考慮他人的思想。它帶來了自我控制感和更好的專注力。不僅如此,它還營造了一個積極的課堂環境,每個人都可以成倍地受益。通過為孩子們配備這些社交和情感技能以及嚴格的學習能力,我們可以培養出成功,盡責且有能力的成年人。