For Ms Joanne Ong, 38, teaching compassion to her son, Jayden, 11, has become a way of bonding with him when they volunteer together.
They have volunteered with people who have disabilities as well as at Open House events at the Istana, where they sold drinks.
Recently, she told Jayden about a shoe donation drive and he immediately pulled out three pairs of his old, clean shoes from the cupboard.
“He’s very excited about volunteering now and he wants to spend time with me doing things that we both love,” says Ms Ong, who works for a multinational IT corporation.
However, it is not always easy to teach children to show care and concern. Mrs Pat Lim, a lecturer at Seed Institute, which trains early childhood educators, says: “It is not necessarily a breeze to teach children about empathy because they have different temperaments.
“For example, a child with a feisty temperament who tends to go big on intense emotions or have feelings they are harbouring inside may take a longer time to feel for others, and grown-ups need to give them more time.”
In the case of Allysha Maishara Madon, eight (pictured above), her mother and other adults close to her have noticed how she takes the initiative to sit with friends who are alone and informs grown-ups when her friends are feeling sad.
She also massages her mother, Madam Yulistina, on the forehead when she has a headache. Madam Yulistina, 41, who is married to an administrative clerk, 67, also has an older daughter, 17.
She says she has always taught Allysha to be humble and considerate. She used to pack extra food for her to take to school so that she could share it with her friends.
Both nature and nurture have played a role in Allysha’s caring ways, she reckons.
Related: 5 ways to teach children compassion
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