Most parents would agree that compassion is an essential ingredient
in a healthy family. I mean family members should care about each
other, right? But for some reason, what many families demonstrate
on an ongoing basis is just the opposite. I get it, sometimes there’s
just a lot of kidding going on. But more times than not, the stress
level in our homes is much higher than the “family health meter” will
What does it mean to be compassionate within your home? Lets look
at it this way, Compassion = Empathy + Supportive Action. So, we
must first define the word “empathy.” Empathy basically means to
understand and share the feelings of another person. When your kids
know that you understand what they’re going through, and they
realize that you have, at times, felt that same emotion, it will help
them be able to better manage difficult situations.
The title you hold as parent will almost always impact how your family
sees you. As a mom or dad, your actions, both good and bad,
become magnified. Really great parents (those who are paying
attention) understand the power of simply noticing when their kids
need encouragement and appreciating them when they are
experiencing “wins.” Listening to your child’s stories, picking up on
their non-verbal communication, and even asking them questions is a
form of showing compassion.
The supportive action part of the equation is about lending a hand to
help your child with something that’s special to them. Three ways to
lend your support to your child includes standing with them when they
are in tough situations, giving them your full attention when needed,
and reaching out to them when they need direction. The important
thing for you is to physically and emotionally be there for your child.
Someday you may be surprised when your child offers you support
during a personal trial. Don’t be. They learned it from you. And
that’s a win!
Awesome parents help their kids succeed! In this process, please
refrain from becoming the “Enabler” who is too helpful, and also from
becoming the “Dictator” who is so focused on helping their kids that
they take ownership of their work. Neither extreme is helpful for
different reasons. Enablers don’t give the responsibility their kids are
entitled to, and dictators don’t allow them to make their own decisions.
Bringing out the best in your child should be your goal. Good parents
help their kids take responsibility for their own growth, find their
strengths, and create a vision for helping them learn new skills. In this
way when issues arise, a parent can coach their kids rather than solve
problems for them. Coaching boils down to three basic behaviors:
listening, asking questions, and ensuring that your child follows through
with the great advice you offered.
Parents will never have happy, engaged kids if gratitude and
compassion are not evident in the home. As the parent, you should be
the first one to put compassion in action.
Check out this Bible verse from Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God’s
chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Lets do it!