How to Cultivate Compassion When Talking About Preventable Death

Young boy holding his hands in water
Seiya Kawamoto

I tell my kids that the blessings of God are like hot potatoes — as quick as you get them, you've got to give them away. They love that little illustration. So when a blessing comes their way, they look for a way to share it with others.

My daughter, Mia, recently showed this "hot potato" attitude while we were at the fair. Mia began begging me to win lots of stuffed animals. Surprised by her plea, I asked, "Why do you need more than one?" Her response surprised me even more than her request. She explained, "Because I need to give them away on the food truck tomorrow!"

The food truck is actually an old ice-cream truck we use to deliver food to needy families in the inner-city neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Every Saturday our family works together to do this. That's why my daughter's words really hit home.

My son, Caden, who is also involved in our family's outreach, expressed his own compassion for others when we enrolled him in Little League last year. As the baseball season approached, Caden seemed sad. So I asked him if something was wrong. He answered, "Well, Dad, baseball's good and everything, but I'm going to miss serving on the food truck for 10 whole weeks!"

Our children are building a perspective of the world as they grow up. If we teach them compassion, they can learn to see the problems of the world as opportunities to help rather than burdens that hinder. These tough economic times present a great opportunity for our families to be a part of a compassionate generation of Christians. In fact, our children may know kids who have lost their homes or whose parents have been laid off. Those kids need encouragement. Our children can be that encouragement right now.

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