1. Seeing the Needs of Others. Who does your child “see” every day that you know has a need? Is it a neighbor, a friend, a classmate? Is it someone in your community or state or maybe out in the big, wide world? Talk with your child and think of creative ways that you might be able to help that person in some small way.
2. Walk a Mile in His Shoes. Help your child think through situations and scenarios that will help them gain an appreciation for what someone else is experiencing. Help them understand that people are hurting all around them and ask what they’d feel like if that were happening to them. Who would you turn to? What would you think is most important? How would you feel if you lost everything? What would you do if you didn’t have food, or a house, or a job, or family? help them to identify feelings like loneliness and loss, sadness and hurt.
3. Knowing How to Respond. Now they have begun to identify some of these situations and the feelings and fallout that may accompany them, help them to come up with solutions on how to help people who may be struggling with these needs. If someone doesn’t have a coat, you could give them the extra one. If someone at school doesn’t have many friends, you could say “Hi” and start a conversation with them, if someone lost their home and has to start again you could go through your toys, clothes and other stuff and put together an box to give to them. As kids outgrow things, you can suggest that they give things away. At holidays and different times of the year, you can decide on a charity to support or cause to sponsor. Showing kids how to respond at an early age will set in motion a foundation and frame of reference when they are grown and on their own.
4. Cultivate Wisdom. Help them not only count their blessings each day but also see how they can bless others by giving and showing kindness. By doing this you start to help you rkids see the world with new eyes. As you drive around or watch TV, be on the lookout for ways you can give back, help out and pay if forward. Let them see how you are learning more about this too and that you are trying to decide what’s the best way to help, who you should help, etc. Help them understand too, that sometimes people can take advantage of the kindness of others. They can watch you as you discern where you should put your time and energy.
5. Do Unto Others. Helping kids do to others what they’d want don to them is one of the best lessons we can ever teach them. As we come across situations where we are trying to help our kids have a heart we can ask them what they would want to happen for them if they were in the same boat. And then set out to help them do it. Help kids to realize that doing for others is a reward in itself.