how do you teach your kids to be compassionate?

As an adult, I’m saddened at how often I see others acting unkind or rude. My son, who will be 3 in December, is the biggest sweetheart EVER. I often think about his innocence and his compassion and wonder how I can preserve it. I want him to stay a sweetheart. I want him to always be compassionate and kind and caring, just as he is now.

Sometimes I tell Ryan that there are adults that don’t know as much as he does… that don’t behave as well as he can.

We donate on occasion and sometimes include Ryan–I mean, he’s always with me so if we’re dropping things off at a shelter or organization, he’s there to see it. But how well are we teaching him to GIVE? To think of others and to be kind?

I’d say we’re doing alright because, as I said, he’s my little sweetie pie. He’ll be the first to offer a hug, even to a kid he doesn’t know that fell and got hurt on the playground.

This year, we’re participating in Operation Christmas Child. The idea is to fill a shoe box with items for a child in need. You can choose an age range and if it’s for a boy or girl.

We went with a boy in Ryan’s age range (2-4 years). As we did our shopping, I let Ryan pick out most of the items. He knew they weren’t for him and he had a lot of fun picking out his favorites to share: hot wheels cars, a Thomas toothbrush and toothpaste set, crayons, paints, play-doh, and little wooden trucks. He talked about how much the other little boy would like them.

When we got home, Ryan continued to talk about this little boy. He kept asking me what his name was. He was really excited to pack the box.

But when packing the toys away became a reality… we had a bit of trouble. Ryan realized he was saying goodbye to those toys and we struggled a little bit to fill the box:

I could have cut out the end, where Ryan says sending the box makes him “unhappy,” but I thought it was a good lesson. It’s a reminder to me of things we need to work on. It’s a reminder to others that sharing and giving IS a lesson to be learned. Children learn by example… the more our kids see it from us, the more likely they are to continue the practices and be kind and caring adults.

UPDATE: this morning Ryan looked at the box and (all on his own!) said, “I don’t want these toys, mom. Because that kid needs to be lucky…. like me.” Phew, proud mama <3

It’s never too late to start teaching kindness, compassion, and generosity. This holiday season donate a box with your family! Please find details at Operation Christmas Child. You can ship your box or you can drop it off at certain locations from Nov. 12-19, 2012.

BlogFrog will match the first 200 boxes that are built! Pledge your commitment below to build a box today! You can follow along with Operation Christmas Child on facebooktwitter (or hashtag #OCCGiveBack), and pinterest.

Operation Christmas Child and influencer marketing platform BlogFrog have teamed up with 200 bloggers like me to spread the word about this great cause.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all mine.

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