Achievement vs. Kindness and Respect?

In case you missed it this past summer, take a moment to read Why Kids Care More About Achievement Than Helping Others, an article by Jessica Lahey. The June 2014 Atlantic piece describes a research project that surveyed 10,000 middle and high schoolers, asking them to rate achievement, happiness, and caring for others in order of importance. By far, students ranked achievement and happiness over caring for other people.

The article notes that many parents believe they are sending strong messages about values such as respect, caring, and kindness, yet the study illustrates a disconnect between what parents think they say is important and how their children interpret their parents’  messages. The students tended to believe that their parents rated achievement the highest.

While the research results do not address technology and connected-world activity, per se, the 21st Century student survey responses are startling because today digitally native children are likely to make a fair number of online communication errors that reflect a lack of caring and empathy. The more empathy children develop, the more successful interactions they are likely to have online.

Best Comment in the Article –  A Quote from Psychologist Michele Borba

The science reveals the irony of the situation: happier and more successful kids care about others, they are able to relate, be concerned, and respect differences, and a lack of empathy makes kids less successful, and less happy.

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