August Value of the Month: Consideration (恕)
Chinese Value of Consideration
In the context of Chinese culture and ethics, the value of consideration is deeply rooted in the concept of ‘恕’ (shu), which can be translated as "reciprocity", "forgiveness" or "humaneness". Consideration, in this context, refers to the act of empathising with others, treating them with compassion and taking their feelings and needs into account when making decisions or engaging in interactions.
The Chinese value of consideration, as embodied in ‘恕’, has several key aspects:
- Empathy and Compassion
Consideration involves putting oneself in the shoes of others and understanding their emotions, struggles and perspectives. This empathetic approach allows individuals to respond to others' needs with compassion and understanding.
The principle of reciprocity is central to ‘恕’. It suggests that individuals should treat others as they would like to be treated themselves, fostering a harmonious and mutually beneficial society.
- Harmony and Social Cohesion
The value of consideration contributes to social harmony and cohesion by promoting understanding and cooperation among individuals and groups. It helps to build trust and foster positive relationships in various spheres of life including family and the wider community.
- Ethical Decision-Making
In ethical dilemmas, the value of consideration guides individuals to choose actions that prioritise the well-being of others and the greater good rather than acting solely out of self-interest.
- Influence on Social Norms
The concept of ‘恕’ has influenced Chinese social norms, etiquette and interpersonal interactions for centuries. It shapes behaviours such as respecting elders, showing kindness to strangers and offering forgiveness to those who apologise sincerely.
What Parents Can Do At Home To Help Teach Children About Consideration
Teaching consideration at an early age can lay a strong foundation for positive relationships and behaviour as children grow as it can help them to develop important social and emotional skills such as empathy, kindness and respect for others. To help children learn about consideration at home, you could:
- Be a Positive Role Model
By demonstrating consideration in your own actions and interactions, your children can learn by observing you. Consistently displaying considerate behaviour will have a significant impact.
- Read Books
Read stories that emphasise consideration, empathy and kindness. Choose stories that feature characters who demonstrate consideration towards others or show the consequences of inconsiderate behaviour. After reading, engage in discussions about the characters' actions and feelings.
- Practice Emotional Awareness
Help children identify and understand their own emotions and those of others. Use simple language to describe emotions and discuss how actions can impact how others feel. Encourage children to consider how their behaviour affects others' emotions.
- Encourage Group Activities
Engage children in activities that promote consideration such as cooperative games which may involve sharing toys or taking turns. Encourage discussions about how their actions can positively impact others and how it feels when others are considerate towards them.
- Always Offer Praise and Encouragement
Acknowledge and praise considerate behaviour when you see it. Reinforce positive actions by highlighting the impact it has on others.