How do you teach compassion to your children? Read these valuable tips from four amazing advocates and leaders – Tim Costello, Angela Watson, Kristen Welch and Mark Redmond.
Tim Costello | Australia | CEO of World Vision Australia
Tim Costello is one of Australia’s most recognised voices on social justice, leadership and ethics. He has led World Vision Australia since 2004 and was named Victoria’s Australian of the Year (2006). He has been active in leadership, local government and national affairs for the past three decades.
“Lead by example”
As a parent your actions are always far more powerful than your words. So if there is one thing a parent can do to instil compassion in their child, that is to lead by example; be empathetic to others but especially be understanding of your child in their hour of failure or distress.
Angela Watson | USA | Educational consultant & coach at Cornerstone For Teachers
Angela Watson has earned international recognition for her unique contributions to the field of education. She’s a pioneer and trailblazer of modern teacher blogging. She was named one of the top 35 ed tech influencers. She currently works as an educational consultant and instructional coach.
“Follow their heartbreak”
Teach your children to follow their heartbreak. Help them identify a need in the world, and figure out what they can do to meet that need. Give them opportunities to change outcomes for those who are hurting and make a difference in any way they can.
Kristen Welch | KENYA | Founder of Mercy House Kenya
Kristen and her family founded Mercy House Kenya, which is a residential maternity center, that offers hope and a home to pregnant teens living in extreme poverty. She is also a regular contributor to Lifeway’s HomeLife and ParentLife magazines.
“A change of perspective”
I’ve found the best way to instill compassion in my children is with a change of perspective. Moving out of our comfort zone to serve those in need or introducing them to new foods and places is a great way to show them how the rest of the world lives. Sometimes the best way to have compassion for others is to understand that not everyone has the privilege of living like we do.
Mark Redmond | USA | Executive director of Spectrum Youth & Family Services
Mark Redmond is director of Spectrum Youth and Family Services and has worked in the field of helping homeless youth for 33 years. He is the author of “The Goodness Within: Reaching out to Troubled Teens with Love and Compassion”.
“It is about doing”
Children must first see the adults in their lives putting compassion into practice. When children witness a parent / teacher / mentor actually performing a compassionate act, assisting someone who is in need in some way, that then plants the seed. Compassion isn’t about talking. It’s about doing. Volunteering at a homeless shelter. Organizing a food drive. Raising funds to help victims of Ebola. Adults have to embody compassion in order to instill that quality in their children.
This article was originally featured in edition 2 Kids Nation magazine.
Photo credit: Luisella Planeta Leoni