Hauser: What does compassion in our home look like?
There are two actions that our children, family and friends need from us. The great news is that God longs to pour both of these actions into our lives. And as he does, we can consistently contribute these actions into the lives of our children, family and friends.
In Luke Chapter 15, Jesus told a story to describe his mission for coming to earth. It’s called the story of the prodigal son; a son wanders far from his father and squanders all his wealth on wild living. He is broken, lonely and wondering if there is any hope. He decides to head back to his father, hoping his dad will give him a job. When he returns to his father, the father runs to greet him, showers him with compassion, and throws his arms around him and kisses him. That is God’s reaction to us, each time we turn our hearts and decisions towards him. The first action we receive from God that our children, family and friends need is compassion.
Compassion includes physical touch. Hug your kids as much as they will let you. Our daughter is 10 and she loves to cuddle on the couch. I kiss her cheek and she kisses mine every morning and night. Our son is 22 and every time he enters and leaves our house we exchange “I love you” and a hug. That has been our habit throughout his life. Neither my wife nor I grew up in homes where we hugged or said “I love you” very often. It is not a part of a typical upper Midwestern family. You and I need to change that. Regardless of your age I encourage you to start telling people “I love you” and exchange a hug.
Compassion doesn’t mean you solve every problem for your child but you have empathy; you affirm their feelings. Compassion means listening without giving advice; connecting with their hearts; being emotionally present. Their issue may not seem like a big issue to you, but you aren’t them. If they are upset about something, you stop what you are doing and you focus on them. Focused listening is a missing characteristic in many homes and relationships. We spend most of our energy at work, we allow technology to interrupt our conversations and the result is we devalue and overlook the people in our lives we love and care about the most.
Compassion gives our children emotional security. Emotional security is the foundation of a fulfilling and productive life. It is the key ingredient in self-esteem; the platform for academic excellence. It gives our children the ability to establish healthy friendships and a healthy marriage someday. It gives our children courage to make positive choices that go against the grain of “everyone else is doing it.” Without emotional security children will sink like a rock and participate in at-risk behavior.
How are you doing at having compassion for your children, family and friends? And showing it to them? Are you connecting with their hearts, emotions, hurts and frustrations? Are you speaking up about your unconditional love for them? As I learn about and receive God’s compassion I can pass it on to others.
God bless you. See you next Sunday!