The world can be a tough place for kids: abuse, neglect, human trafficking, poverty, abandonment …
But for other kids the world is good. They live in families with loving parents and home is a warm, cozy place filled with laughter. Being hungry is not having a snack before dinner. Some of the kids in our clubs are defined by the first sentence, but many others are defined by the second.
How can we teach the comfortable kids about those whose lives aren’t so comfortable?
- Give kids an awareness that not all children live in homes or have enough food or clothes. Of course, any discussion needs to be age-appropriate and done with sensitivity.
- Allow kids to ask questions. Take advantage of their curiosity and discuss ways your family or club can help.
- Introduce children to people who are directly working with needy children. Ask the person/missionary for ways your family can help.
- Do Verse-a-Thon at club where kids raise money for kids around the world and at the same time learn verses. Or as a parent, adopt a child through a ministry such as Compassion. Involve your child in the process. Some families adopt children who have the same birthday as their own children.
- Invite a refugee family to your home for dinner. I know a couple who “adopted” the entire family the church was sponsoring – they helped the family buy needed supplies, gave the dad driving lessons, helped with the language. Their daughter imitated the parents and befriended the refugee’s daughter at church. She taught her how to color, how to sit in the chair and listen to the lesson and how to play the games.
- Collect can goods for a food bank … and work at the food bank as a club or family, if possible.
- Go on a family missions trip or a club serving project and give your children a different perspective.
- Give to organizations that work with children. Talk to your kids about what you’re doing and encourage them to do chores to collect their own money to give.
- Find out of there is any unusual need in local shelters. A halfway house in our town is asking for decorated lunch bags because they pack lunches for many of their residents. And as they say, “What’s more cheerful than having a child’s drawing on your lunchbag?” How easy that would be for club to do
- Intentionally pray with your kids about hurting children.
Whether we’re talking with our own kids or the kids in our club, we can help them be aware of and guide them in ways they can serve those less fortunate.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)