These are just a few things I want to instill in my children. When I think about the world and what would make it a better place (other than the obvious answer of Jesus) I come to the conclusion that if people were honest, kind and compassionate we would be a much safer, happier, peaceful world.
I think integrity is taught. I asked this a while ago if people thought integrity was something we were born with or we were taught and the answers I received were all over the map. But here is my argument: My kids weren't taught how to lie, they just were deceitful at some point (around 3) and I had to teach them that we ALWAYS tell the truth, even if it's not comfortable. There are families out there who don't stress integrity and make it a requirement in their home. I, however, do. Kindness gets you in the door, but if people don't believe a word you say you won't get to stay there very long.
Kindness is imperative as well. You know those people who seem to not have a kind bone in their body? The ones who are critical and judgmental of everyone and everything? I don't know about you, but personally after spending just a smidgen of time with them, I'm pretty convinced that if I never spent any time with them ever again, I would probably benefit from their absence. I start out our days reminding the kids of the passage of scripture in Phillippians 2 where it talks about going about our day with no (my paraphrase) arguing, whining or fighting but make sure their "lights" are super shiny. All day long, when my kids start being selfish with toys or even if I start getting grumpy we will remind each other to be shiny. If we aren't kind, then we aren't shiny. And if we aren't shiny, then we are missing the whole point.
Compassion is the hard one...or at least for me. I definitely don't major in compassion, well, even minor in it for that matter. Often times when people are suffering through consequences of their poor decisions, I struggle with having any compassion at all for them since I strongly believe that every action has a reaction and we just have to learn to deal with it or make better choices. As I get older, I am beginning to understand grace and mercy a little better and how to be more generous with it. But there is a different kind of compassion that I'm talking about. The kind of compassion for people who are hurting and struggling due to no fault of their own. The people who can't walk. The people who are blind. The people who can't talk. The people without family or friend support.
How do you teach your children about people who are "different" due to know choice of their own? Are you uncomfortable around those people afraid you might say the wrong thing or offend them? Do you avoid those individuals in the store so no awkward moment can arise? Or do you say hi to them like you would any other person? Do you offer help when you see they need it? Do you talk with your children about why they are in a wheelchair or using their hands to talk? Do you gawk at little people, or do you explain to your children why they are their height and talk about them like they are just like us?
What are you teaching your children?
P.S. The pictures of Lily and Will are from our day at the farm - that's why they are covered in dirt. Ok, who am I kidding? Lily is always covered in dirt.