It was around 5000 years ago, that the concept of Nunchi was bought by Confucian ethics, a Korean word meaning a keen social awareness and facility in dynamic social situations.
It essentially came out of the need of the complex social life where humans need constant guidance and course correction to navigate the social life and avoid a many obstacles and awkwardness.
Nunchi in its literal meaning is equivalent to “eye measure” and its the secret from the Korean civilization that we may be leveraging in some form. It can also be explained as an intuitive sense through which whether others are pleased, satisfied or annoyed with you by analyzing their facial expressions, body language pus a combination of other small things.
Historically, nunchi was leveraged by lower social class as they would often find themselves in the company of high social class people where logic and reasoning would have no place. It was an essential survival technique for people to not offend anyone from a powerful position to ensure their on safety and well being.
But we before deep dive, how many times have you been in a situation where you wished you knew what the other person was thinking or going through, before you opened your mouth? Literally countless times. Well this is where Nunchi comes in.
Another illustration of a typical Nunchi example is : A friend may state to you that “Are you hungry?” He/she is really saying “I am eager, would we be able to eat now?” So on the off chance that you reply “No”, it would hurt him. The right answer is ask what he/she needs to eat.
Nunchi literally helps you to read the situation or the environment that you are in, without actually speaking to that person or any one in that environment.
A lot of understanding happens by reading and perceiving other verbal cues like includes accent, pitch, volume, speech rate and modulation. Other contributing non verbal factors can also be facial expressions, eye movements and hand gestures. In this manner it is closely similar to paralanguage or paralanguage communication.
This requires constant recalibration of your understanding and assumptions to have richer context of the conversation as well as the state of the person or environment.
But how do we prepare ourselves and most importantly our next generation to learn and perceive the feelings of others to better relate to their surroundings and their peers and friends.
How to teach your kids Nunchi
I have a three year old daughter and lord knows how she strives and struggles to be the center of attention regardless of the environment she is in or the people she is with. At this age, its a refreshing change to teach kids that the world does not revolve around them. A part of responsibility also falls on fathers who traditionally spoil their daughters like anything, and that includes me as well.
Below are the 7 ways to teach kids Nunchi:
1.Its Not about them:
Enabling kids to understand that its not about them, is the first precept of building other components for Nunchi. With this they understand how important are the feelings of their loved ones or their friends to them and why this will help them succeed in life.
As a parent you would not be with your kids all their living life, so its important for them to learn to navigate the social settings of life.
2. Teach them about emotions :
It vital for kids to understand about emotions and how they are central to nunchi. Just like they go through their day feeling happy and not so happy and in some cases angry, they need to understand the similar ebb and flow for people they interact with. this could be their parents, friends, peers or any one.
As a father, every time my little one throws a tantrum or gets angry, I quickly point out the specific emotion to her and the relate the same to her similar situations
3. Facial expressions in Nunchi :
Facial expressions for happiness are the easiest for kids to start recognizing and relating. But other expressions of anger, sadness, surprise and disgust take some time to relate to kids.
Its always better to engage kids in playful manner to help them identify the expressions of the person they are talking to. There are now various games and activities now available which help them get better.
4. Understanding feelings in Nunchi
Try and help them to understand what they were feeling and express the same in a more positive way. If there are 2 siblings who often fight over toys, teach them to calmly put their concern forward rather then start fighting at the get go. In nunchi its paramount to understand the feelings both on your own mind as well as the people that surround you.
How often do you have conflict with your child? I bet several times and with encompassing raging tempers. But when the tempers have calmed down and the child is back to being normal, its time to make him understand about feelings.
This is also a good time to teach them about anger and frustration and how they are harmful for the mind and body.
5. Conflict Resolution in Nunchi
How many times have you and your partner argues r had a screaming match in front of your kids? There are times one cannot avoid it as situations go out of control. The key here is to not let this effect your kids. Instead, if their is an argument, make sure the resolution of the same situation is done calmly, and also in presence of the kids.
This is a vital key to understand nunchi and how to resolve conflicts and navigate difficult situations. In times of helicopter parenting, there is a constant urge to watch every movement of our kids to assure their safety. However, there are certain cultures which promote that kids do several tasks on their own and make mistakes as they do them first time. This becomes an essential survival trick for kids to learn while they are still very young and becomes their second nature.
For instance, in cultures like Japan, kids at 5 years old take public transportation on their own and the younger ones are taught to handle and do their tasks on their own and not rely on parents. Of course they will make mistakes. But at the same time they will learn various facets to handle a situation and how to analyse and really understand it before acting, something that is very central to nunchi.
In addition to being allowed to make mistakes, it’s vital to experience real frustration because it teaches children that sometimes they must be patient in order to achieve what they want.
6. Learning manners for Nunchi
Manners make the man! How many times have you come across this saying? Nevertheless manners form the foundation of our social interactions right from being a child to all the way in our adult life. One thing that stays common is our interactions and engagements with our peers and family.
Right from table manners, to appropriate speech habits, to coaching them, its essentially to cover all the various facets that cover good manners. Of course it is a gradual process but its vital to start early.
Its these manners picked up at the right time that will make sure your child knows how to act and behave while he is in company of strangers or even his colleagues.
7. Learning respect for Nunchi
As your child grows up, he or she will encounter several experiences and individual that are different to them. This can be due to their culture, their bringing up or even in some case disability.
As a child, its vital to show respect to the other person without judgment of the outer appearance. Of course, they will be curious to know more, o make them understand how the other child is more similar to them then they can see. Its vital to respect other individuals on the get go and not take prejudice without even understanding them first.
This also becomes critical in nunchi as your child will learn to understand people and situations as they grow and interact.
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