Teaching Kids Compassion

Can you really teach kids compassion?  Felice shares the answer to this question in this week's "Just for Kids" episode.Teaching Kids Compassion Episode 425

Just For Kids Series

Can you really teach kids compassion? You know some kids are compassionate toward others and they understand the hurts and failings of others without making the person feel bad, and others just love to antagonize and hurt for the fun of it – how help our compassionate children and those who do not become more compassionate? In this, just for kids episode, Felice asks the kids some hard questions and the answer… well, that is for you to address.

Please visit my website at MediaAngels.com and be sure to sign up for our monthly planners. We have new character planners each month, and this month it is on the topic of Tolerance. This planner has some fun activities that you can do with your children and I think parents really appreciate the page with scenarios. I ask the children questions that they can act out or write their answers. They are open-ended. At the end of the month, the children can even earn a character award that is provided. After the month is over you can only get the planners by purchase on the Media Angels website.

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Do you like getting advice? Do you like having people tell you what to do and when to do it? Well, I hate to say this but you might as well get used to it because even adults have to do things we don’t like. And, today I am going to talk to you about something that you may or may not think you need, and that is more compassion. What is compassion?

You may have your own ideas about what this means but it is thinking about the other person’s feelings and trying to understand the person better. It is also respecting the other person’s feelings. You may think your brother or sisters or someone you know is a crybaby because they cry at every little thing – but by making fun of this person does that make it better, does the person toughen up and not cry. No, not too often all it does is make the person feel worse. Having compassion means that you feel something for this person and anger and disappointment are not showing compassion. Why should we be compassionate? It is part of getting along with other people.

Why? Well, because believe it or not you live in a world with lots of people in it and God gives you the opportunity to grow and learn in the safety of your families. Your family life is pretty sheltered and that means you don’t have to worry about where you are going to sleep or what you are going to eat. You know, even if we get in trouble your parents love you. You know that even if you get upset with your brother or sister, mom or dad that they care about you. They want what is best for you.

There is something called giving a person the benefit of the doubt. This means before you jump to conclusions and think the worst of people – I know, this is easy to do – you look at the situation carefully before you say anything. Here is the deal, many times it is not what you think and you might get upset with someone, hurt their feelings, and then need to apologize. But, by that time the damage is done.

Usually, we show people a lack of compassion when we feel we are wronged or someone has hurt us. Our first reaction is to fight back – because strong people fight and don’t get taken advantage of right? Of course, no one wants to be made a fool and taken advantage of but then, we really have to look at the situation and figure out why we are upset. Some people enjoy making others angry and that is never nice or kind.

Let’s say you built this amazing Lego creation and you just finished it and left it on the living room floor because you want to show your mom – you go and get your mom and when you get back you see your brother standing over a mess! You scream and yell at him, he starts crying and your mom gets upset with you. You then find out it was the dog that sat on your creation and not your brother, and your brother was trying to pick up what was left before the dog came back to do more damage. How do you feel?

Is it possible to go back and undo the yelling and making someone cry? I am sure your brother felt horrible to see your amazing creation messed up and was trying to help – that is showing compassion. When you see the other person’s reaction. We speak many times with body language and that is one way you can try to figure out what the other person is saying without words.

Body language is a frown or crossing your arms – which may show you are closed off and angry – standing with your arms crossed while someone is trying to talk to you means, I am not really going to listen to what you have to say. In the same way, smiling and nodding your head yes means I am in agreement with what you are saying. Of course, you know that crying means the person is upset.

Do you know someone who is understanding in your family, who gives the other person the benefit of the doubt – meaning they wait for that person to explain what happened without jumping to conclusions that could be wrong. Who is that person? Is that person you? Do you want it to be you?

For those of us who have faith, there are so many Bible verses that speak about God’s love and the way that Jesus spent time not with those who were perfect but with sinners. Why did He spend time with sinners? Because Jesus was compassionate. God is love and you may have heard that before, well if you have the love of God in your heart it will actually be easier to be compassionate to others because God will give you that grace, and compassion is truly a grace.

Sure, you can try to be compassionate on your own – go ahead and try it and let me know how it works out for you. But, I will tell you now that it will be so much easier to pray to the Lord and ask for this gift. This is truly a gift to love others as God loves them.

Do people mess up and hurt you? Of course. Was it possible in the story I told you about your messed-up blocks that your brother could have destroyed it – sure! But if you don’t hear the other person out and allow them to help to make it better you will not be showing compassion.

Compassion is a gift that we give to others and it is the same gift we get from those who love us and care for us. Most of us are blessed to live in homes that are safe, and we have the example of parents who love us – and because of this love, you too should love others.

Wait or count to ten the next time you want to show a lack of compassion for someone else. And see if you can figure out a way to say things better. This takes practice. And, the next time that you can, try to show compassion to those you care about, and guess what? It may be the biggest blessing in your life.

 

 

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