TineDoes: I was not, by any means, implying that I know what constitutes kindness, or that there is any definitive, or objective answer to that; I was saying that it may not always be so clear, what would constitute kindness, in certain situations. As a former teacher of young children (with special needs), I can try to give a fairly simple example: There were always basic ground rules in my classroom (as in all classrooms), & there were consequences for breaking ground rules. I always tried to maintain a logical connection between act & consequence, whenever possible. So, for instance, one ground rule, for a kindergarten class, might be: if you deliberately spill paint on another child's head, you are not allowed to use the paint for the rest of the day. Let's say a child (call him child#1) who has very little impulse control, & very shaky understanding of ground rules, pours paint on his friend's (call him child #2) head, thinking that is a really fun way to play with his friend. His friend is very upset, & doesn't think that is so much fun. So, as adult in charge, you take the paint away from child #1. But child #1 really loves to paint, & is very upset about the paint being taken away from him. By the way, this is not the first day of school, this ground rule has been explained hundreds of times, & child #1 has already broken this rule many times. In fact, the rule was created because of the past actions of this particular child. Twenty minutes later, the child is still crying about not being allowed to paint. Thirty minutes later, the child is still crying. Of course, you do all you can to comfort the child, explain why the paint was taken away from him, how he upset his friend & ruined his friend's clothes; you tell him he will have another chance tomorrow, to show that he can use paint appropriately; you offer him many other activities & materials - he can draw with crayons or magic markers, he can make a collage, he can play a game on the computer, he can read a book, he can build with legos, etc., etc., but nothing else interests him - he only wants the paint; you explain that if there is no consequence for his action, then everyone might think it's okay to pour paint on another child's head, etc., etc. Lunchtime comes, & food is a temporary distraction, but after lunch, same problem. Remember: this child has very low impulse control, his intention was not to hurt anyone, he thought he was playing, & you are not sure he even really understands the connection between his action & the consequence. But, the rule/consequence has been explained repreatedly, he has broken the same rule several times (in addition to breaking several other rules, because of his low impulse control). So, what would constitute kindness, on the part of the teacher, in this situation? Do you let him go on crying, believing that kindness/compassion, in this situtaion, has to do with helping this child understand that his action was not acceptable, & that there are consequences for such acts in this world, & thinking that understanding this concept is what will help him the most, in the long run? (But he may or may not be capable of this understanding, right now - you can't know for sure that he will "get it".) Or, because you can't really get inside his head, & know what he will understand, does kindness/compassion mean ending his suffering right now, letting him have the paint, & hoping that he now understands the concepts involved (or will understand some time in the near future), & that this time (or next time, etc.) he will use the paint only on the paper.TineDoes wrote:[.
Holydove, I would be interested to hear from you “what constitutes kindness”.
Maybe to some people, the answer is obvious. To me, the answer is very unclear. I don't know if this is the best kind of example, but to me it represents many potential situations that have arisen, & could arise in this world. And I'm just saying, I think there are many situations where "what constitutes kindness" might be a question that is very difficult to answer.