Putting compassion in our care packages would help our children feel the sorrow and pain of others. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus was often moved with compassion by the needs of others, and offered help and healing to the crowds gathered around Him. As parents, let’s help nurture the same compassionate, tender heart within our children that Jesus modeled. Is it possible for them to discover what compassion looks like through your example? How can we help our children to be moved with compassion when they see the suffering of others? A good place to begin might be teaching them about kindness and when they are unkind, tell them.
A Care Package that holds consideration within it has a desire to avoid doing something that will cause another person pain, and will also give careful thought as he/she endeavors to make decisions. We must help our children understand the importance of giving careful—prayerful—thought before making quick decisions; spur-of-the-moment decisions can hold lasting, devastating results. A great verse to study with them is Proverbs 14:15: “Fools believe every word they hear, but wise people think carefully about everything” (ERV). It would be refreshing to bring up a wiser generation; one that holds a sincere desire to avoid believing every word they’ve heard or behaving in a manner that might cause another pain. They must also be taught the importance of consideration because with every decision comes a consequence.
Sending out a Care Package that holds a high regard for commitment would be most enjoyable to many these days—including marriage partners and business owners — even our kids. Teaching our children to honor a commitment helps them understand the value of their word and recognize the importance of loyalty. If they (we), understood commitment better, they (we) would appreciate why making wise decisions is important. Don’t allow your child to quit in the middle of a commitment. Help them grow into faithful, loyal, adults by encouraging them to stick it out until the end (unless, of course, there is danger involved). How can we expect them to “commit everything they do to the Lord” (Psalm 37:5 NLT) if we don’t teach them what commitment means? Do they see commitment from you?
A useful item in our Care Package might be helping them discover the gift of contentment. In a world that influences us to believe “more is better,” “more” soon becomes, “never enough.” The need for more toys, more snacks, more friends, more clothes, more events, more socializing, more popularity, more money, more tattoos, more, more; just give me more. Raising children to believe they are entitled to have whatever they want, whenever they want it, is just not wise; nor is it God’s best. Paul wrote he “learned how to be content with whatever he had” (Philippians 4:11 NLT). He also told Timothy that “true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth” (1 Timothy 6:6 NLT). Don’t walk into the store having told them they weren’t getting a toy and walk out with one because of a temper tantrum. If they don’t learn how to be content while they are young, how will they ever be content with where God has them? Are they able to see a life of contentment through you?
Another useful gift would be teaching them how to accept and appreciate correction. “People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray” (Proverbs 10:17 NLT). I think one of the hardest components of parenting is consistency in correction. While going head-to-head with a determined three-year-old can be wearisome, it is important to remain steadfast in the fight, so that when you go head-to-head with a stubborn 13-year-old, they know who’s in charge. Don’t be afraid to tell your kids “no,” their ears need to hear it from you… and others. Correction doesn’t need to be “heavy-handed” and demeaning, just loving and consistent. Remember this bit of advice from wise old King Solomon, “To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child” (Proverbs 29:15 NLT). If they can’t learn to appreciate correction from those in authority, how will they ever trust that the Lord disciplines those He loves? Are you helping them become teachable?
Let’s tuck one more useful item in our Care Packages by imparting the gift of confidence within them. Not in THEM, which leads to arrogance, but confidence in the Lord and what He is capable of doing in them and through them. I’ve fallen in love with this verse from Jeremiah 17: “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence” (vs. 7 NLT). Because we live in a fallen world, we endure hardship; we suffer great losses and unbearable circumstances. Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we had envisioned or planned. Filling our children up with confidence in the Lord helps them place their hope in Him when life may seem dark and hopeless. Confidence is a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something. Let’s change that up a bit by giving them the ability to see that God always does things well because His way is perfect (Psalm 18:30). He can succeed in bringing good out of any bad situation because He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). Prepare them for battle by instilling in them the knowledge that, no matter what circumstances may come their way, they can “be confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 NKJV).
Prepare to send....