by Margaret Evans, Director of Lifespan Learning

Teaching young people to love is easy to achieve. It is easy for a child to love their mother or father, if they are given love. It is easy for a child to love a sibling, at least at first.

How do you teach a child to love someone or something they do not like? Part of the unifying theme of this year, “An Integral Life”, is the belief that we would not be whole if we did not learn to love people for whom we do not have much emotional space. So how do you teach a child to love a bully and what is gained by that?

Helping a child to love the other, the person for whom love does not flow easily, instills compassion and understanding. When we can frame an action, the ‘behind-the scenes’ reasons for hurting others, we can teach our children that although we do not agree with what has been done, we can still love the doer by understanding why they did what they did.

Now, as our world seems more divided than ever, it is crucial to love even that which we do not like.

Have a conversation with your child about someone who is mean at school. Ask them why they think that person is mean to others. What might be happening at home that would cause them to be hurtful? How can you remind people of their humanity when they are mean?

A great movie that highlights these ideas is Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Watch the original version first and then see the remake with real people!