Friday, May 4, 2012

Stop the Madness Part One

I've got a question for you.

What is the one trait you want your child to possess when he leaves home?

Happiness?  Responsibility?  Self-discipline?  Honesty?

When our big girls were much younger, Ryan and I posed this same question to each other.

I didn't have to think long at all to come up with the one character trait that I wanted to do my best to instill in my daughters.


Merriam-Webster defines compassion as "a sympathetic consciousness of other's distress together with a desire to alleviate it."

Let's get a little simpler.

Compassion is an understanding of how someone else is feeling and wanting to do something about it.

Did you catch that?

See, compassion is a two-part character trait.

The first half of the definition is simply pity.  A feeling of sadness or sympathy for someone.

But what I love about compassion?  It takes that sympathetic feeling, that pity, and does something!

And this, my friends, is what the world could use a whole lot more of, don't you think?

Click here to watch this short video and see if you don't agree with me.

Bullying makes me sick.

It literally makes me nauseous.

And my heart breaks to think that there are children in this world who hate going to school, not because they don't like the homework, but because they are ostracized, left out, made fun of, beat up, verbally abused, and made to feel like they are worthless.

And something has got to be done about it.

Yes, schools, teachers, principals, filmmakers, counselors can all address bullying until they're blue in the face.

But you know where compassion starts?

At home.

I'm tired of hearing, "well, kids will be kids" and "kids can be so mean" and "it's just a phase - all kids go through it" and "I was bullied and I'm tougher for it".

That is a bunch of bunk.

Mom and Dad, compassion starts with you.

It starts with a parent, modeling compassion in the home.

A parent raising a child who will not stand for bullying.

A child who will not sit in a classroom and allow other students or a teacher to make fun of a fellow student.

A child with enough self-esteem and integrity to stand up for someone when no one else will.

A child who will reach out to someone who needs a friend.

A child who will not laugh and join in on hurting someone with words or fists.  Or simply stand by and do nothing, like pity would do.

A child willing to look past another's exterior and see that person for who he is - a child of God, made in His image, loved by God, and worthy of being treated with dignity.

But it must be intentionally taught.

One of the best ways I know how to teach this is through "if-then" type scenarios.

Present your children with hypothetical situations in which someone is being bullied.  Then ask them what they would do.  Do this over and over, again and again.  Until it almost becomes routine.  Until their reaction to bullying almost becomes second nature.  So that when your child witnesses bullying, it won't be the first time he's thought about it.  He'll know what to do.

As a parent, teach your children the difference between pity and compassion.  Teach your children to not fear people who are different by spending time with them.  Then be a family who shows compassion.  Volunteer at a homeless shelter.  Visit nursing homes.  Take a mission trip.  Sponsor a needy child.  Befriend someone with special needs.  Have your child be a peer model in a special needs school.  Be a buddy at church.  Serve at a camp for underprivileged children.

Just do something.

Because bullying has got to stop.

And it's going to take our kids to put an end to it.

Let's start right here.  Right now.

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble."  1 Peter 3:8


  1. It saddens me how many parents these days just give up. They expect their kids to figure things out on their own or expect the teachers or Sunday School teachers to do the parenting.

    What a great idea to do scenarios with your kids. That would be a good activity to do in the car! And you know what? You can never start too young teaching them how to be caring towards others. I think the best place to start is by teaching little ones about the compassion and love that Jesus showed. He is the #1 example for us all!

  2. The stories about bullying eat me alive. Like fire ants.

    But I love what you wrote about teaching the kids to have compassion and not pity. There's SUCH a huge difference, and that can be felt. There are days where I get such looks of pity when I'm out with Abby (who has Down syndrome) and Casey (autism). I don't need to be pitied and neither do they! We need compassion.

    Fantastic post. I'm sharing it now...

  3. Thank you.....THANK YOU....for this post. It resonates so much with me, you have no idea.

    Sometimes the children do this stuff in school and they write down what they would do in certain situations. Sometimes the child can write the correct and compassionate response. Writing and doing are not the same though.

    I agree.....It all begins at home.

    And I'm sharing too!

    xx Jazzy

    PS: Tightie whitie guy on my silent sunday post (or 'Man in Knickers') is The Naked Cowboy!!


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