Raising Kids with Compassion

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Have you ever stopped to think about the kinds of adults you are raising your kids to be?  Hopefully you have, and as a result have some specific goals in mind for your kids.  Some parents hope for their kids to be extremely educated or financially successful.  Others hope for their kids to be famous or known for something important.  Others want their kids have a specific skill or sport mastered whether it be dancing, the tuba, or a star soccer player.  Encouraging our kids in their giftings is not a bad thing at all, but at the end of the day (or of their life) it’s not whats going to matter most.

More than anything I desire to raise kids with hearts of compassion.  I want my kids to see people as more imporatant than anything else.  I don’t long for my kids to be famous, rich or successful by the worlds standards.  I want my kids to be known for their kindness, for their desire to see and notice others, especially the ones overlooked by most.

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One time we were teaching at an evening outreach in an little village on the rocky side of a hill.  Suddenly, my oldest son, who was helping me  said, “I’ll be right back, as he looked past me to the window outside that faced the steep rocky hill.   He slipped out the the door and I watched my son, run to help a little girl who was carrying two heavy back packs.  I watched him remove both back packs off of her and place them on himself then walk with her up the slippery hill, and beyond where I knew it was just as steep on the other side.  He carried it all the way home for her.  He was gone for about 20 minutes, and came back sweaty and out of breath.

I was so, so proud of him.  He noticed some one who needed a hand, and he jumped in to be the one to give it.

I’ve often thought of that moment and asked myself this question…

What makes some kids or adults more kind, generous then others?  I don’t think being kind and helpful is natural for most of us.  It’s not always for me any ways.  So why are some people more compassionate then others?

Honestly I can only come up with one sound answer, and please hear my humility in this…. it’s the ones who have some one to model it for them and teach them.

 

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Our kids, are watching us.  They notice everything we do or don’t do. They see when we share what we have with some one who doesn’t.  They hear our words full of gentleness and compassion, and the ones that aren’t.  They see when we go out of our way to help some one else, or if we just pass on by.  They see how we react when we haven’t been treated fairly, when we extended grace instead of anger or revenge or when we don’t.  But they aren’t just watching us.  They are copying our addititudes, beliefs and behaviours._MG_0544

I am no saint.  I don’t always help.  I am often distracted, busy and messed up in my priorities, and I am not pretending to have it all together or saying that my kids do either.  We are normal, messy people, believe me.  But I do pray to have open eyes to see those in need of a helping hand, a hug, or a word of encouragemnt, and to do my best to give it to them, even if it’s inconvenient to me.

I want to notice those around me.  Really see them, and be a help when I can.

I want to show kindness when it costs me something and I want my kids to see and do the same.  Not out of duty or obligation but out of love for the people around us.  I can’t think of anything that would bring me more joy than that.  More importantly then what I want, isn’t that what loving Jesus is all about?

 

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