Empathy is something I know I don’t need to teach my son. He already has it- from accidents during playtime to the baby crying in the restaurant to shedding tears over Daisy’s lost ball in A Ball For Daisy (of course, I shed tears too over that story.)
He loves to care, and he loves to help, and he loves to show love.
But a lesson my son will have to learn, just like I had to learn it in all my naivete, is that children and people can be mean just because they can be.
He’s had two big doses in the last couple months- once on a playground where girls barricaded him from an area and told him he couldn’t join them because he was a boy, and this last week, when he ran up to two older boys gleefully and they- not understanding how he said his name, started making up names for him like ‘Mister Poop’.
It’s hard explaining why those kids did it, so each time I just walked my not-even-three son away reminding him he is a nice person and doesn’t need to play with mean kids. (And the boys’ mom gave them an earful too- she heard the same thing I did.)
When the album ‘Someone Else’s Shoes‘ started in our rotation I listened carefully to the lyrics.
The next album in Recess Music’s ‘Best Foot Forward’ series features a variety of styles- from a joyous choir to sweet ballads to folk, and all focus on respect for one another, empathy, and kindness to others.
Mike Soloway’s “Stop Hurting My Feelings” reminds me of the lesson I’ve instilled over and over with my son- to say ‘No’ or ‘I don’t like it’ in his defense on the playground.
“There’s No Place In Our School for Bullies” by The Hill Brothers can be an anthem for any classroom working against bullying and is easy to sing along with.
“Team Work” by The Uncle Brothers is one of my favorites, reminding that everyone is important and they play an essential role in life. It’s a song to help remind to be courteous to everyone in any situation- and reminds me how affectionate and awesome my old elementary custodian was.
And “Be Nice to Old People”, by Jamie Broza is the sweetest ode to the grandparent/elderly set I’ve ever heard… perfect as ‘gentle’ is a word used over and over at Nana’s house.
Someone Else’s Shoes is available at www.recessmusic.com, Amazon, iTunes and at stores.
I was provided a copy of the CD to review. All opinions are my own.