Parenting Initiative: Raising Caring, Courageous Kids

Over the past two decades, researchers have expanded our understanding of the keys to developing virtues in children such as generosity, gratitude, and forgiveness—to raising children who are supportive of others and committed to something bigger than themselves. However, for the most part there have not been coordinated efforts to infuse these new scientific insights into programs that inform and educate parents.

In order to help bridge the gap between research and the daily lives of parents, the GGSC is proud to announce a new, three-year initiative to help parents raise caring, courageous kids. Supported by the John Templeton Foundation, this initiative launched in July of 2017 and has three major components.

1. Grants to support innovation in community-based parenting programs. The GGSC will provide funding to community-based organizations (e.g., schools, houses of worship, community centers) that have strong connections to parents of school-age children. We will announce a request for proposals in the fall of 2017, ultimately awarding a total of $1 million in grants to the strongest proposals for creating or improving a program to help parents build skills like generosity, gratitude, and forgiveness in their kids. After awarding these grants, the GGSC and a team of scientific advisors will help the organizations identify research relevant to their programs, translate this research into lessons for parents, and determine how to better evaluate the success of their work.

2. Events to identify “what works.” The GGSC will twice bring scientific experts together with the community-based organizations awarded a grant through the initiative. One event will be held toward the start of the project, to review and share the organizations’ plans; the other will be held toward the end, to identify and discuss their successes, challenges, and lessons learned. These convenings will both help the organizations learn more from the scientific experts, and from each other, while enabling them to share insights from their experiences “on the ground.”

3. Multimedia resources directly for parents. Building on its strong track record, the GGSC will develop a range of new resources for raising caring, courageous kids, widely sharing with parents the top research and best practices. This will include publishing dozens of new articles for parents on Greater Good, creating several practical exercises for parents to try with their kids, and producing a series of short videos designed for mobile devices and social media to reach busy parents on-the-go. These resources will all identify and report on cutting-edge research findings, and will eventually distill some of the key lessons learned from the parenting programs that receive grants through the initiative.

The first component of the initiative involves offering various forms of support to organizations that parents already trust; the second component involves both supporting and learning from these organizations; and the third involves widely sharing out lessons learned from the organizations and the research in general. An underlying goal of the project is to identify several promising approaches for supporting parents, and their children, that can be scaled up or extended to other communities.