“Hungry not only for bread – but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing – but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks – but homeless because of rejection.” - Mother Theresa.
Compassion is the saving grace of humanity. When removed from a society, that society will soon fall into the dustbin of history. Our children are surrounded by narcissism and sarcasm. Whether it a spiritual or secular force, there is a highly persuasive pressure to ignore human suffering. We are being taught compassion for the earth and for things, but not for people. The examples are everywhere. As parents we must combat this with our full hearts. Greed brings only destruction, but compassion brings liberty and prosperity. Here are the 10 things you must teach your children about compassion:
It Starts At The Top
Your life must lead the way for the next generation. If your existence is shallow and self-serving, your children will emulate the same. Display a generous and loving heart so that your children may see it in action. Never let an opportunity slip by that compassion can be given. It is always the small things that matter in life. A warm smile where only cold is known. A gentle embrace when all others have passed by. A helping hand to ease an overbearing struggle. It starts with you.
No Child Left Behind
Talk to your children about school life. Do they notice the girl eating alone at lunch? The boy with nobody to play with at recess? Are they themselves that child? Encourage your children to reach out to those that need a friendly face. It takes courage to do so. The group dynamic is such that those children are left behind. Teach them to be leaders that set positive trends.
In most aspects of life, seniority rules. At school and in your career. This should translate to Grandma and Grandpa as well. In most cultures, it does. In American culture, it does not. That is to our disgrace. Teach your children to respect their elders. It is biblically commanded and extremely wise to do so. Have your kids spend quality time with the older folks in your circle. To help them and learn from them. Compassion for the weak and fragile is a very strong character trait to possess.
How can our compassion have meaningful results? That is the challenge to bring up and discuss with your kids. You want to have a positive impact. Giving a homeless man $5 just to buy more booze is frustrating to many people. Instead, consider pre-making survival bags for the homeless. Take the kids to distribute them. Fill a grocery bag with everyday needed items and food that does not need preparation. You will light up the face of a desperate man with gratitude and hope. If only for a brief time.
Turn The Media Tables
Television and the Internet are overflowing with bad examples for our children. Sex, violence and self-centeredness are celebrated and encouraged. It is simply not possible to filter it all out. Instead, use it for your advantage when possible. Watch what your kids are watching. When opportunity presents itself, use it. Point out moments that could have been different with compassion and decent morals. Turn the tables on irresponsible media making money corrupting the souls of society. You should see it as a war, because that’s exactly what it is.
Do you have a family pet? Animals teach many great qualities. Compassion right at the top of the list. How your child treats his pet is a great indication of the character within him. Is he loving and nurturing? Or callous and abusive? Perhaps indifferent? Pets can be used to break through even the iciest of shells. Make sure your children have daily responsibilities for the care of your pet. It will teach them dedication to the well being of something besides their own needs.
Disabled Is Not A Dirty Word
Disease, birth defects and mental challenges run rampant in our world. They leave no age group untouched. In nearly all situations, it is no fault of the victim that they have been stricken with the burden they carry. Yet in many cases, they are left on the sidelines to deal with life in relative isolation. Disabled is not a dirty word. Many of the greatest stories of human triumph emerge from the ranks of the disabled. Their bodies or their minds might not be of normal state, but every soul is created beautiful and pristine. Remember that and teach it to your children.
Open Your Heart
The ability to display and comprehend emotions is not always easy for all people. Some men and women have a lot of trouble discussing out loud how they are feeling. Open your hearts to your children. They need to feel that you can verbally and physically express the love you have for them. Big hugs and three simple words on a daily basis. This builds much needed security and enforces in them the ability to love others as well. Hugging your child and telling her that you love her makes you more of a man. Not less.
Once upon a time, only a scoundrel would consider taking advantage of another for profit. Businessmen had an unspoken code to be square dealing and honest in their work. It was a matter of social standing. Is this the case today? In the present, it is normal business practice to use whatever means necessary to claim the prize. Morals sacrificed and ethics out the window. This trend must be reversed. Teach your children to have standards they will not waver from. To deal fairly in all matters. Compassion flows from those that treat others with dignity and respect.
Tolerance For All Kinds
One of the most used words of this strange new century. Tolerance. Sadly, it is often misused as more of a form of control than actual acceptance. That is called social engineering and is not true tolerance. Tolerance is a love for all of God’s creations. To be color blind. To practice understanding for those different than yourself. The world today is full of open borders and worldwide communication. We can’t hide in conclaves of those only like ourselves. Relish in that fact and teach your children that it is a glorious time to be alive. You only heard about the “starving children in China” when you were little. Your child can talk to different kids all over the world on the Internet. Tolerance and compassion for all people and creatures is certainly a goal worthy of your children’s soul.
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