Evidence That It Works
In one study, children between the ages of 4 and 6 were read one of three stories: a story about anthropomorphic animals sharing, a story about humans sharing, or a control story about seeds. Children who were read the human story were more generous afterward compared to the children in the other two groups, suggesting that children are more likely to internalize messages from books about how to behave when the books present characters that students can identify with.
Why Does It Matter?
The increase in school shootings, bullying, violence, and discrimination experienced by children and adolescents underlines the need for education that helps students cope with trauma and deep hurt, both of which can result in anger, anxiety, and depression.
Education on forgiveness is particularly important given that angry and hurt children who cannot understand their feelings often inflict anger upon others, or deny it until it erupts. Teaching children what forgiveness is and is not as well as how to forgive can help create more positive and safe learning environments.