Mom teaches compassion to her children


I’m impressed with the compassion of some kids to help others. The challenge is getting there with my own.

Last night at dinner, my 2-year-old stood up on his chair, leaned over his plate and grabbed a knife from off the other side of the table. When he sat back down, I chastised him, told him no, and took the knife away. Of course, he tried to stand up and do it again. I put him back down in his chair and firmly told him no. He then started crying because he’d gotten in trouble.

At this point, I glanced over at my other child, who had this big smile on his face, because his little brother was getting in trouble. Ah yes, the challenge of parenting. The big one was happy to see the baby finally getting caught with a little discipline and expectations. When he saw someone else getting in trouble at the dinner table for a change, it was cause for celebration.

What about compassion? I really wish the reaction from my oldest was to help his brother out. To remind him of what to do right, instead of revel when he did wrong, but it’s hard to teach. What he’s showing is our natural human tendency to think of our self first and forget the struggles of others.

I’m writing about this issue because of an organization I just heard about where one child’s compassion has become the start of a great movement for helping others. It’s called Kids Helping Kids. It started with a 10-year-old child’s desire to help other kids in Ghana after watching a program on their suffering. (Never say watching TV can’t amount to some good.) He successfully raised money to help one child and then decided to keep going.

He and his mother founded a not-for-profit organization that is currently trying to raise a million dollars to help kids – in their own backyard and around the world.

Kudos to him, and kudos to his mom for helping support his kind and giving heart.

It shows me that children can help each other and make a big difference in our world.

They have also started a leadership academy to help build kids’ belief in themselves and understanding of important topics like integrity, accountability and communication.

I think that a kid who feels good about himself is more compassionate towards others. Maybe believing you can make a difference makes you want to help your brother, and others.

So, maybe I need to give my oldest a little more power over his own destiny at dinner, let him pour the milk or set the table, and think about why a knife isn’t a great idea until he and his brother are a little older. Then he’ll have the power to not only think for himself, but build a giving heart towards others.

RESOURCES: e-How article on how to teach compassion to kids

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