The Children's Charter
Stories from Members
It's a common admonishment heard from the lips of parents and teachers around the world: "How would you feel if he/she did that to you?" It's the golden rule in the negative. Erin Henry, a Charter for Compassion activist in Canada, decided to change the reprimand into a celebration and re-crafted the Charter into language for children.
Compassion means to feel what others are feeling - especially when they are feeling pain or sadness. Compassion is inside of all of us. It doesn't matter if you are a girl or a boy, how old you are, what country you live in, where or if you worship, or the color of your skin. We can all show compassion for others.
The Children's Charter for Compassion is now utilized by schools and community groups around the world. Young people are declaring their commitment to compassion and working to make it a reality.
Teens from Hermann Wesselink College, a secondary school in the Netherlands, performed a musical version of the Charter at the TEDxYouth conference in Amsterdam. Students at University Heights Public School in Ontario, Canada, recited the charter in celebration of their school being proclaimed the first official "compassionate school" in the world.
The movement for compassionate schools has taken flight. Some, like the school in Ontario, have publicly affirmed the Children's Charter; others have made use of the original Charter for Compassion. But all who sign on commit to more than just a verbal allegiance to compassion. They must offer a comprehensive, working model that integrates curricula, activities and art with compassionate practices in school, at home and in the community.
Teachers and school administrators are developing Charter-related curriculum materials for all ages, and schools across the globe - from a mobile-tent school in the Jordanian desert to those run by the Vancouver school board - have launched compassion-based programs. In the words of the Children's Charter, the programs strive to help children acknowledge one thing: "From this moment on, we have a great responsibility."