Concerned for the Well-Being of 100%
In society’s fight between altruism and apathy, the 100% New Mexico initiative works for the selfless caring of all our children, families, and communities.
Katherine Ortega Courtney, PhD and Dominic Cappello
What is altruism?
Altruism is the principle or practice of concern for the well-being of others, without expectation of reward or recognition. It involves acting for the benefit of others, even if doing so requires sacrificing one’s own interests or desires. Altruistic behavior can take many forms, such as donating money or time to a charitable cause, volunteering, or helping a stranger in need. The concept of altruism is often contrasted with egoism, which is the principle of acting in one’s own self-interest. Altruism is considered a key aspect of many ethical and moral systems, and is often cited as an important human value. Altruism guides our 100% New Mexico initiative.
How can altruism guide a government?
Altruism can guide a government in several ways:
- Policy-making: A government that values altruism may prioritize policies that aim to improve the well-being of all citizens, including those who are marginalized or disadvantaged. Such policies could include investing in social programs, education, healthcare, and infrastructure that benefit everyone, not just the wealthy or powerful.
- Fairness and equality: Altruism can guide a government to strive for fairness and equality for all its citizens. This means ensuring that everyone has access to basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare, regardless of their socioeconomic status or background.
- Environmental protection: Governments that prioritize altruism may also place a high value on protecting the environment for the benefit of future generations. This could involve enacting policies to reduce pollution, conserve natural resources, and mitigate the effects of climate change.
- Statewide cooperation: Altruism can guide a state government to work collaboratively with all their county and city governments to address costly challenges, such as lack of access to vital services, hunger, home insecurity, and untreated medical and mental health challenges. This could involve providing support to distressed communities, sharing knowledge and resources, and participating in projects that promote collaboration and sustainability.
In summary, altruism can guide all levels of government to prioritize the well-being of all residents, promote fairness and equality, protect the environment, and work collaboratively actress the state to address our most pressing public health and education challenges.
How can altruism be taught?
Altruism can be taught in several ways:
- Modeling: Children learn by observing the behavior of others, so modeling altruistic behavior is one of the most effective ways to teach altruism. Parents, teachers, and other caregivers can demonstrate acts of kindness, generosity, and empathy to inspire children to do the same.
- Positive reinforcement: Praising and rewarding altruistic behavior can encourage children to continue acting in a kind and generous manner. This can include acknowledging their efforts and providing verbal praise.
- Empathy training: Teaching children to understand and identify with the feelings of others can increase their capacity for altruism. This can involve role-playing exercises, story-telling, or activities that require children to take the perspective of others.
- Service learning: Providing children and youth with opportunities to engage in volunteer work or community service can teach them the value of helping others and the positive impact their actions can have on the world around them.
- Ethics education: Educating children about ethical principles can help them develop a sense of social responsibility and motivate them to act in an altruistic manner. This can include teaching them about fairness, justice, and the importance of treating others with respect and dignity.
Overall, teaching altruism requires a holistic approach that involves modeling, positive reinforcement, empathy training, service learning, and moral education. By instilling these values in children, we can help create a more compassionate and empathetic society.
Gratitude and caring
Each day we start is an opportunity to demonstrate altruism-the selfless caring of others. We live in a society where we are bombarded endlessly by media messages telling us to binge and consume. We’re taking a moment to show gratitude for all those New Mexicans who have turned off the distracting and often toxic social media and focus on building up their communities so all children, students, and families can thrive.
Those working on the 100% New Mexico initiative in 15 counties demonstrate each day their commitment to altruism. We are so grateful.
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The 100% New Mexico initiative is a program of the Anna, Age Eight Institute at New Mexico State University, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit annaageeight.nmsu.edu to learn more.