I am fortunate to have so many opportunities to teach my children compassion.
I was delighted earlier this week, on a day in which I was less than energetic, to look out my kitchen window and find all four of my children - ages 7,5,3 and 1 playing hide and seek in the front yard. They were all having a great time, and the older kids were happily including the younger.
As a mom, it brings me to think of III John 1:4
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
I know the truth of the gospel is to receive the love of God through Christ and through the gift of the Holy Spirit, to show that love to others. I know that Noah would prefer to find older boys to play with, and might prefer a video game, or so he thinks. But I see joy in him, and in his siblings, that they might not understand, when they get to play, including everyone and think about the joy that the other experiences before considering their own.
I saw a process of breaking away selfishness as Noah was commissioned with the responsibility of getting Zak buckled into his car seat. As I progress in my pregnancy with the twins, climbing into the 3rd row of the suburban isn't impossible, but it certainly requires more effort than it used to and I just don't have as much energy. So it has become Noah's job to get his brother buckled before securing his own seat belt.
This has taken time. It began with battles. It almost always seemed to result in Noah frustrated and Zak not buckled and me climbing back there anyway. But in time, they began to learn. Zak learned to let himself be helped and to trust someone else. Noah learned to not get frustrated with the 3 year old who is frustrated with him (most of the time). And his compassion towards his brother has increased.
I do not have everything figured out, I am sure that I will not parent my 6 children perfectly (haven't so far!). But I love this lesson that I have learned:
By giving them the responsibility of care for each other, they learn to love each other more.