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Do People Really Care Less?
December 11, 2019
Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.
-Goethe
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“It’s not just that people care less,” wrote Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant,” in an article in Atlantic magazine, “ they seem to be helping less, too. In one experiment, a sociologist scattered thousands of what appeared to be lost letters in dozens of American cities in 2001, and again in 2011. From the first round to the second one, the proportion of letters that was picked up by helpful passersby and put in a mailbox declined by 10 percent. (When the same experiment was conducted in Canada, helpfulness didn’t diminish.) Psychologists find that kids born after 1995 are just as likely as their predecessors to believe that other people experiencing difficulty should be helped—but they feel less personal responsibility to take action themselves. For example, they are less likely to donate to charity, or even to express an interest in doing so.”

In Deb Curtis’s book, Really Seeing Children, she writes about ways to help children notice and cultivate pro-social behavior from a young age. “I continue the practice of always looking for children’s positive social behaviors to document and make visible to them and to me. I observe children working together throughout the room and document their activities through note taking and asking myself these questions:

  • What specific things do children do and say that indicate they are connecting with each other and building relationships?
  • How do they use objects or materials in their play to communicate their ideas?
  • What challenges or conflicts occur?
  • What do children do and say to resolve their differences?”

Source: “Stop Trying to Raise Successful Kids and Start Raising Kind Ones,” by Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant, The Atlantic, December, 2019





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