Already a few months into the school year and moving into the Christmas season, do you ever think that children and youth are often underestimated in their ability to comprehend and display acts of compassion in the midst of challenging situations? Teaching compassion is an incredible exercise which we’re prepared to help you with. We have a resource just for you – we call it Kids Care, because we believe that kids really do have the capacity to care and love their neighbour, and the latest issue is called My Home Away from Home. Keep reading for more ideas of how to engage children and youth, and to be involved in the process of practicing compassion as Jesus did.
Did you know, November 20 is International Children’s Day? Kingsway Baptist Church in Etobicoke, Ontario is making opportunities for children to be children every day of the year! As they recognized a particular need in their community and are reaching out to fill it, they developed the rEcess Program, “which provides children with special needs and their siblings a safe place to share one-to-one play time with a buddy chosen just for them. Brothers and sisters, who often shoulder greater responsibility within the family, also get to enjoy a few hours to just be a kid. The program also provides their parents with four precious hours to themselves – to go on a date, go shopping or whatever else they wish.
God’s love is shown through the dedicated volunteer community that has formed to run the rEcess Program. Compassion is being experienced in practical ways, as expressed in the gratitude of the families who benefit from the program. The program has also influenced the wider community to be intentional about including and accepting people with different abilities. Together they celebrate these beloved children who are made in the image of our loving Father”.
Hello or Marhaban, as we say in Arabic! My name is Amira* and I’m 12 years old. […] My parents made the difficult decision to leave Syria and, all that we had and knew, behind. We made it to Lebanon and managed to find a small basement apartment, it was very crowded, and very, very cold in the wintertime. My dad tried to find work when he could, but it was not easy. Never in our lives did we think we would become refugees.
We arrived in our new Canadian home on New Year’s Day. At the airport, we were all surprised to see a large group of people from Timberlea Baptist Church waiting to welcome us. These people were all strangers to us, they didn’t know us at all, but they have been very kind and generous! We were so unhappy for so long and often times we felt like second class citizens, but here, we feel like human-beings again and are treated well. It is nice to be able to go to bed at night and not be terrified of what might happen. I like everything about Canada, especially the trees and the chance for my family to be healthy, safe and happy again.
mosaic invited two junior reporters to interview Tim Huff, author of the Compassion Series books, which are being used in elementary schools across Canada to educate and inspire children around challenging topics. Book 1 is entitled The Cardboard Shack Beneath the Bridge: Helping Children Understand Homelessness. Book 2 is entitled, It’s Hard Not To Stare: Helping Children Understand Disabilities. Sophie in Grade 4, and Makaiao in Grade 3 sit down with Tim and ask some great questions.
Sophie: What gave you the idea to write about compassion?
Tim: Lots of years ago when my kids were 8 and 4 years old, we were walking down the street and passed by sleeping bags and a homeless person sleeping on the street and some other stuff. My kids kept asking “Daddy, why is that stuff there? Who is that person laying there?” Now, I actually cared for and worked with homeless people and I had a hard time answering their questions, so I thought I would make a little book…this started just as some coloured photocopies for my own children, but as it turned out, people were interested enough that they wanted to make it into a book for all kinds of people. I actually took care of homeless people for over 20 years and worked on the street and walked past people who look just like this. I also worked with kids with disabilities for many years. I worked with deaf children for 14 summers at a camp and I married a woman I met at the camp. She can hear but both her parents are deaf. Her first language is sign language.
Keep reading in mosaic magazine for the full interview! Visit www.compassionseries.com for more information.