Breaking News: compassion is on the radar!
I confess. I’ve been pretty rubbish about the volunteering thing over the past several months. It’s hard to find time and as the kids get older, they’ve got other priorities. But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up.
I’m still trying to instil compassion in them on a daily basis by generally just being a kind person in their presence and hoping that some of it will rub off on them. And by making sure they’re aware of the humanitarian crisis that’s going on at our doorstep.
I think it may be working, at least a little bit.
Jessie, my 10-year-old, came home from school the other day and told me a story that nearly made my heart burst with joy:
Her friends had told her that she was spoiled because I’d given her my old iPhone to use. Her response was: “Yes, you’re right, I am spoiled. You’re spoiled, too. We’re all spoiled.”
When her friends protested, she Googled some pictures of the Calais refugee camp (aka The Jungle) and showed them the muddy tent city that other children are living in. She was incredulous when her friends said: “That looks like fun!”
Frustrated, she tried explaining that these people have very little food, water or clothes, and no toilet facilities. (Jessie was aware of this because I talk to her about it sometimes, but also because we did some sorting of donations for the refugees in Calais last year.)
Her friends still didn’t get it. She came home upset and told me the story ‒ she just couldn’t understand why these kids were being so flippant about the whole thing.
I understand and respect that a lot of parents don’t feel that 10 or even 12 is an appropriate age to be telling their kids about the refugee crisis or showing them upsetting images of refugees living in squalor. But I feel it was the right decision for me and I don’t regret telling mine.
Jessie may still ask me for a trampoline almost every day, but I’m proud that the important things in life are at least on her radar. And that she appreciates how lucky she is.
Photo credit (banner): CompassionLab