I was at one of my son’s games the other day and the coach asked me to help out. So I helped organize the kids on the bench. My son is very emotional and had made a mistake on the field. When he came out of the game he was crying. Before I could even give him some encouragement three of his teammates came over and put their arms around him. He stopped crying almost immediately and began to have fun again. It reminded me of something Mother Teresa said about what people are most hungry for in the world and what they are experiencing. “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.”
The world would be a much better place if more people focused on teaching compassion to their children. There is plenty of narcissism and sarcasm, especially online, in the world today. Let’s raise the next generation to be different. If my son’s team is any indication, we might be on the right track. Here are the 10 ways to teach your children to be compassionate.
1. It Starts With You
If your existence is shallow and self-serving, your children will emulate the same.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 where compassion can be given. It is always the small things that matter in life.
2. Love The Lonely Kids
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. Teach them to be leaders that set positive trends.
3. Love The Elderly
Teach your children to respect their elders. Have your kids spend quality time with the older folks in your circle to help them and learn from them. The elderly are some of the most lonely people in our society. Show your children this story. Perhaps it will give them a vision for the impact they can have.
4. Be Strategic
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.
5. Use The Media
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.
6. Love Pets
Do you have a family pet? How your child treats his pet is a great indication of the character within him. Is he loving and nurturing or callous? Perhaps indifferent? 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.
7. Love The Disabled
In many cases, they are left on the sidelines to deal with life in relative isolation. Their bodies or their minds may work differently, but every soul is created uniquely beautiful. Remember that and teach it to your children.
8. 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.
9. Practice Ethical Behavior
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.
10. Tolerance For All Kinds
Tolerance is a love for all of God’s creations. To be color blind. To practice understanding for those different than yourself. We can’t just gravitate to people only like ourselves. Teach your children to befriend people from different backgrounds.
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Are their any kids at your school that eat lunch alone? How do you think that kid would feel if you invited him (or her) to eat lunch with you?”