When I was a girl, it was Dotty and Topo and the Chocolate Pizza Factory.
In her toddler years, Sici talked at length with pint-sized Sir — the one with springs for feet — and welcomed The Soccer Teamers into the house for dinner after they arrived on their scooters.
For J it was Peela, Pola and Ponot who graced us with their presence on walks, at bedtime and around the dining room table.
These friends weren’t imaginary, of course. They were real. So when we sat on them, they felt the pain. And when they faded into the memories of childhood, so did I.
I’ve been thinking lots about all kinds of manifestations of imagination since April, when at the Faith and Culture Writers Conference, Ken Wytsma, founder of the Justice Conference, spoke about the importance of imagination — and immersion into literature — as part of the key to unlocking empathy in children. Because when they are able to place themselves in the experience of another and truly imagine that pain and joy, they are better able to extend that to the world beyond the page, beyond the right here.
And do something with those feelings.
As I look ahead to this weekend, I’m thinking about my Sici, now 11 (and a voracious reader), who is a part of a group of Sunday School kids who heard about their teachers’ experience in the Congo and wanted to do something to help the children of that faraway place. While adults might have shied away from the logistics of ticket sales and meal preparation and a Saturday night program, the kids jumped in full of excitement and are bringing the dream of helping children in a faraway orphanage to life.
Sunday, on the heels of her fifth grade group presentation this week about the need for clean water worldwide, Sici and I will be walking with two friends and their mamas, holding heavy buckets of water to understand just a little better the lengths to which people go to access drinking water and to help put clean water within their reach.
I’m beginning to see these kids and my girl’s empathy like hearts with feet on them. They might even have springs.
I’m joining this morning with the Five Minute Friday community at Lisa-Jo Baker’s where we write freely and encourage one another’s words. Today began with the prompt: Imagine.
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empathy is a beautiful thing and a precious gift when cultivated in children. empathy in action is empowering for those who engage and those who witness their example. thank you for sharing the heart of your daughter!
You are right, Dina. Empathy is one of the most beautiful things I know. And I love what you say — empathy in action is empowering for those who do and those who witness the example. Thank you for your words here.
This is so wonderful to know that your children has empathy and love in their hearts for others. At the beginning of this year, we were buying clothes for Andreas, my youngest, for varsity. When we were discussing what we still need to buy, he said he had enough to come out with. Besides, he reckoned, he feels to guilty if he has many clothes if there are so many with none.
Blessings my friend
What a sweet example of empathy. I love that Andreas considered that — especially when he was on the verge of being able to (legitimately) receive something new. Thank you for sharing, Mia!
WOW! What a beautiful heart! Thank you for sharing!
You must be a fabulous mom to evoke such caring and compassionate emotions in your children – :) Have a wonderful day!
Thanks for your kind words, Kathleen. It’s amazing to see what springs forth from these little people….some by teaching, but much by their own processes of growth.
You are doing a wonderful job raising kind & empathetic daughters who are sure to make a difference for Christ in our fallen world!
I’ve got much to learn, but thanks so much for your encouragement, Becca. I love you!
I can imagine you bearing the weight of the water buckets in love, with mercy, toting grace. You blow me away friend. I can only imagine the one day when we meet.
Elizabeth, truly, I cannot wait! I love you, friend.
What a beautiful thing it must be to see your children’s heart grow big enough to hold the world around them…..and much of it because of the hearts that you and mike have! love you friend!
I love you, Angela. I’m treasuring your words — hearts growing big enough to hold the world around them. What a beautiful blessing.
You and your girls, Ash… such beauty, it makes my heart hurt. I feel so honored to have met you, to know you, even a little.
Likewise, sweetheart. Can’t wait to know you even more.
Beautiful story :):)
Thanks, Deb. Always makes me smile to “see” you.
Imagination the path to empathy. Children as hearts with feet…and springs…how beautiful Ashley!!
I love too how real the fresh water burden becomes when you tote the buckets yourselves…what a brilliant way to take a “concept” and bring it home to roost in hearts. Hearts (like those of your girls) that will make a difference. bless you all!!!