Grow: Developing a Heart of Compassion
Last week we talked about Mother Teresa, and how her mom and dad were really big influences in her development of a heart of compassion for others. Of course we want to do the same for our kids, but how do we do it?
You may remember me talking about a conference that I went to at the end of February called The Justice Conference. One of the breakout sessions I had went to was about how we as parents can help develop a lifestyle of justice in our children (and what we can do at each developmental level, starting with preschoolers!). It was a fantastic session, and it was here that I talked with the session leader (the lovely Mrs. Linda Van Voorst), and she hooked me up with the Justice Kids curriculum. The activities are divided up according to character trait that one is trying to develop, and then divided up by age group that the activity is aimed for.
One thing that Mother Teresa’s mom did was take meals to the sick or poor. But she didn’t leave Mother Teresa at home– she involved her in the process. In the same way, we can involve our kids in the process- from beginning to end. While it is not unusual for me to make a meal for a new mom or someone who is sick, it IS unusual for me to let the kids help. It’s much easier for me to choose the meal, buy the ingredients, cook it, and deliver it by myself. Sure, maybe sometimes I’ll take a kid or two along to deliver it, but for the most part, I just kinda let them watch, talking to them about what I’m doing.
In the Justice Kids’ activity idea, they encourage parents to let their kids be intimately involved- from beginning to end:
- Choosing the meal
- Going to the store and choosing the ingredients
- Making the meal
- Wrapping the meal
- Praying for the person to whom the meal is going
- Figuring out a little something special to bring with the meal (homemade card, fun paper plates to eat on, a book for the family to enjoy, etc.)
- Delivering the meal
So, we decided to let all the kids help make a meal for a new momma in our church who is also having some medical issues. We made, we shopped, we delivered, we prayed.
While it took much longer than it would have, the kids’ participating is more valuable than the extra time it took. It’s through the experiences that kids’ hearts are shaped. They feel the emotions that go along with doing something kind for someone!
Thanks to Justice Kids for the reminder to involve the kids in the process. Check out their website for some free ideas or subscribe for access to all of the material!