Violence, terroism, and war seem to dominate the headlines everyday. How is it possible that in this day and age we are still killing each other over what…power, land, racism, and yes, religion. What went wrong? I thought we all learned our lesson from past wars. Will there ever be world peace where everyone lives in harmony? I believe the answer lies with our children.
Love and compassion go hand in hand. Our children depend on us for everything; not just for their health and well being, but also for security and unconditional love. It’s our responsibility to guide them, teach them to become morally responsible human beings. Mother Teresa said “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
A child’s first feelings of being loved and cared for are in its mother’s arms. She cradles the baby to her breast; she softly croons to it, holding it safe and warm. Their heart beats mingle; love and compassion blossoms. Invisible threads of love and compassion are woven into the child. Once we’ve experienced love and compassion it defines our character and we can’t help but become compassionate towards others.
Children learn what they live. Setting good examples are far more effective than spoken words. If the parent kicks a dog, guaranteed the child will kick a dog. If the parents are racists, in all probability the child will become racist. A daily diet of foul language, bad habits, immorality, and abuse (physical and verbal) will set the pattern for the child’s future. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and the behavior the child grew up in will repeat itself throughout his adult life unless someone with compassion turns him around.
When a child comes from a loving compassionate family their daily life is nurtured with love. Parents aren’t afraid to show affection; hugs, smiles, words of encouragement and understanding are their daily diet. The child participates with their parents volunteering their time for needy functions. They understand there are people who are less fortunate than themselves that need help and comforting. When a disaster strikes, they give generously and unselfishly without a second thought. They truly have love and compassion for their fellow man. With a strong foundation of love, compassion, and moral convictions, the child will excel and possibly make a difference in the world.
The story of a young boy, Ryan Hreljac, springs to mind. In 1997, 6 year old Ryan learned from his teacher that women in Africa have to walk many miles each day to find water. He learned that some people died due to unsafe, dirty water. Ryan was so touched he wanted to do something about it. He spoke to the schools, churches and clubs about his goal. He did chores for his parents and the neighbors and finally raised $2,000, which was enough to dig a new well. The story made headlines around the world and one project led to another. Years later with help from adults, he founded the Ryan’s Well Foundation to bring awareness to the importance of water. Today the foundation has built 255 wells that serve more than 427,000 people in 12 countries.
There are many stories of children showing compassion, from giving blankets to the homeless on the streets to little girls donating their hair for cancer patients. Disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the tsunami of 2004 extracted compassion from around the world.
Teach the children well. ” We must remember that love begins at home and we must also remember that the future of humanity passes through the family.” (Mother Teresa 1910-1997; recipient of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for Humanitarian Work)