Great Resource for Teaching Teens About Empathy and Forgiveness

Teaching Kids About Empathy and Forgiveness - Parenting Like HannahIf you have paid attention to the world at all in the last few months (or more), you have probably noticed tensions between various groups of people reaching a point where each group lashes out at the other. To anyone who can take a step back, it often feels as if no one is able or even willing to try and understand the other group’s viewpoint.

God calls Christians to love their neighbor as themselves. The Good Samaritan is actually a story about a man helping his mortal enemy survive a brutal beating and robbery. If we want our kids to accurately reflect God’s image, we have to teach them empathy and listening skills.

Empathy and truly listening to another’s point of view does not necessarily mean you will ultimately change your conclusions, but it does mean you can understand that there are other perspectives and reasons why other people have come to a different conclusion.

Recently, I was given an opportunity to review a new book, I think everyone absolutely needs to read – no matter your position on current issues. Convicted by Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins is subtitled “a crooked cop, an innocent man and an unlikely journey of forgiveness and friendship.”

It is probably one of the most powerful books I have read, not only on the subjects of race and urban issues, but the spiritual journeys from anger to forgiveness and pride to humility.

I really don’t want to give away the plot, because although it is the true story of what happened between the two authors, telling too much might lessen the emotional impact of the story building as it ping pongs back and forth between the stories of the “crooked cop” and the “innocent man”.

The impact this book has the potential to make is perhaps as much as that of The Other Wes Moore or Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun – two classics addressing urban issues. I think many in our society would gain a better understanding of the tensions with police, by understanding how they can arise and that there are more crooked cops than they realize. Others may benefit more from the sections when McGee shares how even after repeated abuses by the system, he was able to find the ability to forgive and move forward.

Throughout both stories is woven the realities of the problems created by sin in our world and the freedom living life the way God wants us to live it provides.

I highly suggest you read this book along with your teens. Discuss your thoughts as you go along with the authors on their journeys. What does the book teach each of you about empathy, honesty, forgiveness and a host of other godly characteristics?

Not only will you enjoy the book, but you may find it changes you in the process. If not, at the very least, you will have enjoyed an interesting true story.



A copy of this book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review.  An affiliate link is included for your convenience. 

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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