Christ is the King of Compassion. If we follow the teachings of Jesus, then we surely know that as Christians we are to love one another and have compassionate hearts for all humanity. But how do we teach our children this fine art? To some, it comes easily. To others, it’s a stretch! We are naturally wired to be selfish, so it takes effort in helping our children open their hearts to the needs of others. And God calls us all to not only think and pray with deep compassion, but act on it as well.
When raising our children, there is a growth process, as with any other character trait we want to instill in their hearts. When the kids are too little to stretch beyond themselves, we slowly nurture this ‘outward thinking’ in basic communication and navigate our way through the stages and ages of our kids. I believe our children can truly develop compassion for others very early on, if we can minister to their hearts on a regular basis through these four ways.
1. Pray for others with our children.
There are so many people in our lives that need our prayers, so when we pray with our kids, it’s important to include these individuals. It is good to have an ongoing list to keep track of those you are praying for, and add people who your family knows, along with others who are suffering in this world and are in need. Every time I pray with my kids, I first ask God to fill them with His compassionate light so others can see God’s love pour out through them. I then ask God to use my children to do His work and guide their decisions throughout their day. I share the names of people in our lives that are hurting and ask God to guide us in caring for them. Our prayer life is a mighty reflection of our hearts, and our call is to love and care for others. This is where compassion can be born and ultimately thrives in our children’s thoughts and actions. If we are compassionate in prayer, God will infuse in our hearts empathy for others and a deeper understanding of tending to their needs.
2. Involve our children in serving.
Whenever I am serving another person, whether we are out and about and see someone in need or I am planning on volunteering in our church community or anywhere in our town, I engage the kids. They become involved as a significant part of our giving and helping others who need our care and serving hands. When children are mobilized with the family’s servanthood, they learn the value of giving and reaching toward others with a heart like God. Early on in their lives, they can acquire such joy and fulfillment in caring for others and making a difference in someone’s life. It becomes a natural and regular routine to not only think about other people in their little worlds, but also bring about action in being God’s hands and feet. There is a big world out there, full of charities and missions your family can support together.
3. Model compassion to our children every day.
There are a hundred opportunities to model compassion to our children every day. How do we respond to our interactions with others? How do we intervene in crisis or circumstances that need our attention? How do we initiate help when we see someone in need? How do we counsel our kids through conflict resolution and difficult situations? How do we treat each other?
With each interaction in our daily life, we hold the opportunity to show them the art of compassion. Are our hearts in the right place? If so, they will learn how to respond, engage, problem-solve, interact, and shift their own hearts in an outward loving way. It’s an ongoing process and education for our children, and we are their greatest role models. They will learn through experience, and how we behave has a significant impact on their lives. We must nurture compassion through each and every opportunity we have as we set the example in our homes, and outside of our homes so that our kids can be trained to have a tender heart for others.
4. Read scripture with your children about compassion.
There is nothing more powerful than applying God’s Word to our lives. It’s important to teach our children how Jesus commanded that we are to “love one another” and share God’s love with others. One of the beautiful characteristics of being a Christian is that we are called to care for others and the bible speaks of this often. During your family devotional time, you can share the many stories of Christ in scripture about being compassionate. Click HERE to download scripture to teach compassion to your children!
As we raise our children to have a heart for God, let us also remember to cultivate a heart like God.
In what ways do you cultivate compassion with your children?
By Chris Carter
Wife to Derek, Mom of two
SAHM (Stay at Home Mom)
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Blogger at The Mom Cafe
The 1 Corinthians 13 Parent Series: Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love and their companion Study Guides, are formally launched this month. We are sharing the LOVE with over $400.00 worth of give-aways: books, jewelry, and one-on-one parent coaching with either Lori Wildenberg or Becky Danielson, both licensed parent and family educators. To be eligible for the gifts, comment on one or more of the 1C13P blog posts during the month of February. Winners will be randomly drawn each Friday and notified via email.