7. Find opportunities for your child to interact with and help those who are hurt and needy.
When our youngest daughter was in the fourth grade she and two friends went every Tuesday to the local nursing home. They talked with the patients, worked on crafts, and played games. Those Tuesday afternoon sessions helped to develop compassionate hearts in all three girls.
Consider sponsoring a child through an organization like Compassion International. Corresponding with a child in a third world country not only alleviates hunger, it provides a great learning experience while building a deeper understanding of those less fortunate.
My daughter once talked me into taking $10 to a homeless park downtown. “Okay,” she said, “take the money and help some people.”
It took me a while, but I finally figured out that the best use of the money was to buy protein bars, baloney, bread, cheese, and mayonnaise and make sandwiches. We had enough for ten.
Back at the park I proceeded to pass out sandwiches. “Don’t just give them a sandwich,” she said. “Aren’t you going to sit down beside them and talk for a while? They’re not just hungry for food. They need some understanding and compassion. Most people are way too busy to take time for these folks.”
I was very uncomfortable when I tried to engage some in conversation. These were not my type of people.
I figured that we would be there 15 or 20 minutes—tops. Three hours later I had missed most of the football game on television. However, I wouldn’t exchange those hours for anything.
The next Sunday after church she did it again. With $10 in my pocket, we headed down town to the park. No one was in sight. The temperature in Tucson was well over 110 degrees. No one was outside.
I noticed a thrift shop down the street. I entered to help someone in need. The sole woman in the store was buying used clothes and broken toys for her two children. I watched her struggle with the thought of each purchase. “I’ll help her,” I thought, “I’ll buy those things for her.”
I approached the register and said, “I’d like to buy those things for you.”
She looked at me with angered indignation, “I don’t need your help or your sympathy. I have money. I’m a schoolteacher. I have a salary. Leave me alone.” Teachers don’t make much money.
Outside, my daughter said, “You’re not very good at this, are you?”
Imagine the impact an exercise like this can make on your child.
Take time to teach your child how to pray for those who hurt.
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