As a parent, my prayer is to build a compassionate family. I strive to instill in my children a deep sense of wonder at the beauty of the world, along with a deep sense of empathy and compassion for the world. Sometimes this means trying a recipe from another country. Other times it means volunteering in our community. I am always looking for those teachable moments that can lift my children out of their own daily lives to understand the lives of others.
That’s why I am really excited to introduce you to five new resources that aim to do just that. Whether you have a young family with preschoolers or a family with teens ready to go deeper, you will find something here to come alongside you as you build a compassionate family.
I have an atlas sitting on my coffee table so that whenever my kids have a question about a country, we can pull it out and learn. The Friends Around the World Atlas is a little different. It teaches about 25 countries in a way that is easy for a child to understand, while highlighting both the beautiful cultures and the needs in these countries. It has Bible verses and prayer prompts to remind us to see our world in the way God sees it.
There are also mini booklets included on some pages with pictures showing what life is like for kids in other places – these were my children’s favorites!
2. Giving Is the Good Life by Randy Alcorn
This line stood out to me in Randy Alcorn’s new book about what truly constitutes the good life:
“You can spend every last cent you own on yourself — and, through credit, far more — and still end up miserable.”
Yet, as Alcorn highlights, we often think that the “good life” necessarily means living selfishly. Alcorn guides us through the countercultural answer to what will actually bring us fulfilment — the biblical principal of generosity. This would be an excellent book for families with young adults just heading off into the world to discuss what true success and meaning in life really looks like.
One thing I love to do with my children is to pick one country and spend an afternoon doing activities to learn about that place. This book helps parents (and teachers) do just that! There are activities, crafts and puzzles provided to help children learn both compassion and about the world. The activities are centered on the themes of home, school, church, food & water, clothing & toys, and family & friends. It does all this while keeping biblical principles and verses at the forefront.
This book will make it really simple for any parents or teachers who want fun and interactive ways to build a compassionate family or classroom!
4. Imprints: The Evidence Our Lives Leave Behind by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck
If you are a person of compassion, viewing all the needs and pain in the world can make you feel crumpled inside. At the same time, it can feel like your small efforts to better the world are meaningless; they seem insignificant laid against the backdrop of human suffering. But Gray and Skeesuck share this beautiful truth:
“No act of love goes unnoticed and no deed of compassion is futile.”
We have immense opportunities in our friendships and in the small words and actions of everyday life to leave an imprint of compassion, love and joy. This book will encourage your family in what it really means to live a life of love in a deeply personal way.
This last resource is focused on the beautiful and rich country of the Philippines. You can use it with your family, a small group or maybe even a Sunday school class to learn more about what it’s like to live in the Philippines and what needs children face there. It includes discussion guides, activities, devotions and prayer prompts.
My favorite part is the four videos included on a DVD that invite you into the lives of four families in the Philippines. My children’s favorite is the press-out sheets that let them build a Filipino village! (There are also press-out game cards and Scripture memory cards.)
In the space of an afternoon, through these five resources you can build a new toy, eat international cuisine, start living the good life, make a lasting impact on those around you, and spend time in 25 countries. How cool is that?
But the best part is, not only will you and your family have a fun time, you will be building a compassionate family. You’ll walk away with deeper compassion for each other, for your community, and those living in need around the world.