I seldom get copies of the Straits Times and did not have the good habit of reading news. It happened that many Sundays ago, we had a free copy. I was very touched by the article that featured a special girl who overcame the odds of her disabilities with the unconditional love and support from her parents. It moved me to share this new article with my kids the next day. What started out with a simple sharing, became a short write up of the article as my middle child wanted to use that as his ‘Show and Tell’ news article for his class lesson in school.
As I discussed with the kids, I saw how they tried to imagine being deaf, mute and unable to see clearly by covering the ears, making noise instead of verbalising and having hindered vision. It was a precious lesson on how they can learn from her undaunted spirit and prayerfully develop empathy for the less fortunate.
After that lesson, the world was shaken by a grave natural disaster. Following Nepal’s Earthquake Disaster news, my hubs initiated a mini lesson on this current affair during our dinner. He then continued to teach them using the Map of the World to illustrate his points. Mainly teaching them how this part of the world is suffering huge loss and pain due to the natural disaster. In relation, how Singapore has been spared because of our unique location as an island, and how we as a nation should not take our safe place for granted. (I was learning a lot myself too!) We then prayed for Nepal. The next morning, I asked what could A do apart from praying for them? He then recalls his school’s initiative of a donation drive set up to help Nepal. The following day, he used his own pocket money to donate. It may not be big, but it starts with something small. Praying this seed of kindnesses will germinate. And I thank God for my hubby’s leading in such teachable moments.
After the mini talk from papa, I followed up with the kids through the newspaper reports on Nepal so that the children can see the photos of people just like us. In this report, a girl was featured queuing for water. I took the opportunity to discuss on what that means. Imagine if we had to do that etc. Not only do we learn about the current affairs, we also learn how to have a heart for others beyond our country. The look of concern for the girl and awareness of how blessed they are was encouraging to my heart. As they see for themselves the realities in the news, I could use that as reminders on how they can save water in our daily usage and the like. It made more sense to them. We also remember them in our prayers as much as we can. Somehow, learning from the news and praying for the world becomes more tangible and practical in this manner.
With that, I decided to continue this practice of using the newspaper article to teach my kids on current affairs as well as lessons for the heart with opportunity. It would be a weekly learning point. The latest was on the SEA games. There was an article on it and I supplemented with the SEA Games website for nuggets of useful information for their newspaper write up. This time round, I asked them to include their drawings of 5 favourite sports being featured in the SEA Games.
I was very tickled by my girl’s drawings of the synchronised Swimming! Interestingly, she had chosen all the water sports! To my delight, I discovered much more than I expected in this new journey.
This time round, I asked for papa’s assistance to teach the geography of the South East Asian Countries. He illustrated very effectively using A’s compass and the chopsticks!
Their complete works provided much insight to their interests! Well, at least for now. : )
I hope to maintain this learning journey after the holidays!
How do you teach empathy to your children? Do share! : )
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