Simple Service: Learning Empathy

Our friend Anna, one of our regular bloggers, is back from a bit of a break. She has created this beautiful post for us about teaching our children to be empathetic. Thanks so much, and welcome back, Anna!

There are many ways to get kids involved. Whether that's using their hands to help, their hearts to heal, their words to uplift, or their minds to learn. This evening we opted for some education to get them involved in their community. 

There was an awesome event going on in our city- "Forced to Flee." It was a mock refugee camp with stations where real refugees taught us about what it's like to flee and how life is in a camp. 


First we were able to see photos and read some stories from local refugees.


We were  each given refugee status cards, just like they do in real life. Then we moved from tent to tent. One tent was all about the shelters used for homes. 


One was all about food conditions. Another was for health care. 


Another was about schooling. 


Afterwards we were able to talk with volunteers and staff to learn about more ways that we can get involved and help in our community and we made some plans to do so as a family.  


There are many ways to raise awareness in most cities. There are cultural festivals or events such as this. Anything helps us remember how much of a family we all are on this planet. Some great ways to find out about these events are on many social media platforms (I found out about this one on facebook!) or online on city websites and calendars. 

This also got me brainstorming ways that we can educate children about others, in this case, refugees if you're not able to find such programs in your area. 

You could:

  • Go a day without running water or electricity. 

  • Set up a tent in your yard and and try to set up a home in there.

  • Tell your kids that they can only bring one thing they can carry.  

  • Ration out some beans and corn and a certain amount of water for the day.

  • Show them photos taken inside refugee camps

The goal is not to scare them but to light the flame of compassion. After learning about issues it's always important to give some power back and provide ways to help out. So talk about those as well and make a plan of action. No matter how big or small, every bit helps.