Retreat/In-House Conference Retreat 9:
Growing Compassionate Kids
The antidote to violence and affluence is to help children develop empathy and practice compassion in wise, safe, realistic ways. Kids can be exposed to heartbreak and poverty without being overwhelmed if they help in simple, relational ways alongside wise adults. This is one more way to show them how God so loves them, but also so loves the world.
Session 1: Jesus’ Heart for the Voiceless
First, we examine the advantages. Helping kids care about the poor and oppressed helps them become disciples of Jesus and teaches them empathy in a callous world. We follow Jesus’ stunning example as he befriends the “voiceless”— those who have no say. In light of their possible heartbreak, we consider practical suggestions for developing compassion without having nightmares in the process.
Session 2: Wise Ways of Helping
The Good Samaritan got so many things right and offers us wise counsel (because we easily get it wrong!). Even he needed a partner and so we examine volunteering as a family (not just parents but especially aunts, uncles and grandparents) and how families can choose volunteer ideas and practical tips in doing so.
Session 3: Inviting God to Change Me on the Inside
Developing a heart of compassion means moving from being a typical self-protective American to a pro-active lover of Jesus. The key is building empathy — the missing ingredient in a violent society and doing so by combating cultural isolation and arrogance. One simple way to build a heart for the world is through child sponsorship (with some enhanced ideas). This helps us learn to go beyond charity to doing justice. We close by looking at where to begin.