The 815 parents who responded to Pew were asked how important it is to teach various qualities to their children, and then they were asked to rank the top three qualities that they thought were the most important. Being responsible, hard work and religious faith were the top three. Just 15 percent of respondents said empathy was most important, while tolerance (8 percent) and curiosity (6 percent) were at the very bottom.
Some argue that being empathetic and teaching kids how to be kind should be more important than hard work. A lack of empathy and gearing children to only focus on hard work can be part of the reason for bullying and bad behavior.
Richard Weissbourd, a Harvard psychologist with the graduate school of education who runs the Making Caring Common project, argues that children need to be taught how to be kind. In fact, his group released a study this summer that had a similar finding to Pew’s. In it, 80 percent of children interviewed said their parents cared more about their achievement or personal happiness than whether they cared for others.
To the parents reading this: What is most important to you?
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