2 minute read
23 Aug 2013
6:00 am

Ubuntu for babies

Despite what researchers used to believe, studies are now finding that children can show signs of empathy and concern from a very early age.

Image courtesy stock.xchnge (monigirl)

As moms, many of us are well aware of this fact, particularly when we see our babies act in a caring manner that warms our hearts. What is important to note, however, is the positive impact this kind of behaviour can have on the overall wellbeing of our little ones.

Pampers Institute panellist and parenting expert, Sister Lilian feels that there is a need to teach children to be more compassionate and says, “In South Africa we have our very own home-grown model on how best to raise a happy, healthy and caring child.”

“The spirit of Ubuntu is a Xhosa expression that simply means, ‘people are people through other people’. To expand on this, the term refers to the fact that we are human because we belong to the human community and we view and treat others accordingly. Ubuntu is an African word for a universal concept that we as mothers can use to guide us.

“After many years of caring for moms, dads and their babies, I truly believe that it is our responsibility to teach our children to live in a world in which all people embrace peace and equality; embody the essence and spirit of Ubuntu in their work, family and community lives; be encouraged and inspired to use their inherent abilities to the fullest; and find their passion to participate in, contribute to fully and benefit fairly from South Africa’s growing prosperity,” adds Sister Lilian.


Image courtesy stock.xchnge (iferrero)

Image courtesy stock.xchnge (iferrero)


While children are born with their own unique personalities, Sister Lilian believes that it is our duty as parents to demonstrate to our little ones how truly important it is that they behave with kindness and a fair sense of responsibility. “All children act in a thoughtless manner at times simply because they are still finding their way in the world, and learning about behaviour that is either suitable or unacceptable. These are the precious moments when moms can step in and teach the qualities of compassion, kindness and empathy,” adds Sister Lilian.

When imparting these key life lessons Sister Lilian also advises concerned moms and dads to focus on the act and not the child. “Little ones are far more sensitive than we realise, and if we want them to continue believing they are still little champs in our eyes, it’s important to never put them down personally. When we focus on the act and give open and honest feedback, a child feels more able and willing to rise to the occasion.