Friday, 26 April 2013

Engaging pre-teens and young teens in the Sponsorship Journey


This post is part of a Link Up from a Blogging from the Boonies Michelle

 Making Sponsorship a Family Affair.

We began sponsoring just a few months ago when our children were 14,13 and 10 years old. As parents, we have maybe leaned a bit on the over-protective side and sheltered our kids from a lot of world realities. They attend (up until grade 8) a marvelous Christian school in the country which both served to shelter them but also to ground them in their faith and teach leadership skills. Although a large catholic high school in the suburbs has been a bit a culture shock for our oldest, she is coming through her first year with tremendous grace, wisdom beyond her years, and still rooted in her faith.

 Being involved in Compassion has given us a great tool used in 3 ways:  
  1. Providing a World View through Compassion-ate Eyes
  2. Tempering world events with stories of hope, Remembering tragedies and seeing God working through people, His healing hands
  3. Role modeling empathy and gratitude

Teaching a World View through Lenses that are coated with Compassion

As my kids are growing up and becoming more exposed to the events of the world, belonging to Compassion has given me a tool to be able to see things that are happening with a compassionate world view.  When we grew up and were told to eat everything on our plate because kids are starving in India – this had little relevance to us.  Being able to show my kids stories of real kids who may only have one meal a day, and be able to see a picture of their face, and know a name to go with that face and to know that that child has some siblings and maybe only one parent, and lives in a house with a tin roof – these details make it real and hopefully a little bit more relevant.

When it sinks in, and your kids then ask what we can do to make a difference, we can tell them about organizations like Compassion (or World Vision, or Samaritan's Purse). We can show them proof of how $25 for a goat can provide food and income for a family, or sponsoring a child throughout their life can teach them to believe in themselves and stay in school and successfully raise their own family, not in poverty.

Making homework relevant – my son made this beautiful scattergraph for Geography earlier this year using data from infant mortality rates in 2 countries. His graph was lovely, but he had no clue what infant mortality rate actually means.   Linking this to Compassion's Child Survival Program and how this program makes a real impact on local infant mortality rates made this graph a lot more real.

Tempering world events with stories of hope, remembering tragedies and seeing God working through people, His healing hands

We talked about the Rwanda genocide earlier this month as Rwanda remembered its past.

When an aunt and cousin went on a missions trip to Haiti, we talked about the earthquake in Haiti.

And I know that this week we will be talking about the Factory Collapse in Bangladesh.
Role modeling empathy and gratitude

As parents, getting involved in the ministry of Compassion, we role model compassion. By bringing up our Compassion children into our every day conversations and our prayers, we role model empathy. 
And by remembering what others do not have, we learn to be grateful for the things we do have.