No matter the age, our children need to be trained to be compassionate. It does not come naturally. Kids are egocentric, but they can and should be taught to consider the needs of others, as much as they consider their own. Some of those needs are invisible, so we need to become sensitive.
Our job as parents, teachers, and coaches is to show, tell, and explain to our children the needs of others around us.
This video reveals what is so true, not just in hospitals, but in every arena of life. We all have pain and joy, and every person has a different set of trials and triumphs everyday.
Show this to your children and talk about it. Or email it to them. 🙂
Sometimes, a single, simple act of compassion can change the world for someone else. As a middle school teacher, I have witnessed this, not daily, but certainly monthly. More often, I have witnessed the converse, in which a single simple act of cruelty can ruin someone’s day, or year. However, the power of compassion is every bit as strong as any cruelty. And children are often compassion’s most powerful agents.
In the book, This I Believe, there is an essay which beautifully illustrates how a child can change the world for someone. I also think it shows how a child can be trained in righteousness by an adult. In this case, the adult is hidden somewhere behind the scenes, actively teaching the child how to be compassionate. In his essay, Miles Goodwin, an attorney from Milwaukee, writes of a life-changing moment in his life:
“On June 23, 1970, I had just been mustered out of the Army after completing my one-year tour of duty in Vietnam. I was a 23-year-old Army veteran on a plane from Oakland, Calif., returning home to Dallas, Texas.
I had been warned about the hostility many of our fellow countrymen felt toward returning ‘Nam vets at that time. There were no hometown parades for us when we came home from that unpopular war. Like tens of thousands of others, I was just trying to get home without incident.
Continue reading “Never Too Young for Compassion”