Can your kids see the world from the point of view of another person, or do they only see the world from their perspective? While God’s truths are universal, many other things in life are seen from different perspectives. Often conflicts arise, because people view things differently and refuse to understand how and why the other person does not view the situation in the same way.
You may wonder why teaching your child empathy should be a priority for a Christian parent. Empathy is important because it’s necessary to reflect God’s love to others in ways they can feel it. If your kids only reflect love in the ways that make them feel loved, the other person may not feel loved at all. Empathy will help your kids take that step back and decide what the other person needs to feel loved.
Empathy is also crucial when your kids are trying to share their faith. In order to be successful, it helps if your kids are passionate about helping the other person get to Heaven. To have that passion, your kids must love the other person. Studies have shown when we can’t empathize with someone, it becomes difficult to love them. When your kids view themselves as so different they believe it’s impossible to empathize with someone, their brains think of that person as lacking realness. Basically, their brains turn the other person into an inanimate object.
Finally, your kids need empathy to have strong, healthy relationships. Empathy helps heal misunderstandings. Empathy apologizes and tries to make things right. Empathy tries to changes behaviors that cause pain to others.
So how can you raise empathetic kids? Here are our top tips:
- Tell your kids empathy is understanding someone better by trying to see the world the way that person sees the world.
- Tell your kids God wants us to have empathy for others because it helps us love and serve them better.
- Teach your kids that when they don’t think they have anything in common with someone, it creates a distance between them and that person.
- Help kids understand that if that distance becomes too big, our brains stop thinking of the other person as a person we should love and serve.
- Teach kids the way to make the distance smaller is to try to get to know the other person better and find the things they have in common.
- Help your kids think of good questions to ask to help them find things they may have in common with other people.
- Have your kids practice asking people respectful questions, finding the things they have in common with other people and trying to see the world as other people might see it.
- Remind your kids that when they have true empathy for someone, they will love them and want to serve them and share their faith with them like God wants them to do.
There are lots of fun things you can do with your kids to develop empathy. We will share them with you in our next post. For now, watch your kids and see how much empathy they appear to have for others. Talk about the word and its meaning. Discuss ways they will behave differently when they have empathy with others.