Parenting is full of deep joys. That first gummy smile. Those first wobbly steps. That very first bike ride. But one of the greatest delights as a Christ-following parent is discipling our kids in the way of Jesus— raising faith-filled and compassionate kids.

From reading familiar Bible stories at bedtime and doing fun character-building activities to praying together around the table—these are the precious moments that will shape our children as they grow in Jesus.

Growing in compassion is a vital part of our children’s discipleship journey. We see this displayed in Colossians 3:12:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Clothing ourselves and our kids in compassion may feel like an intimidating ask. After all, putting on clothes is something we have to do every single day. But there are opportunities all around to help us grow in this exciting call to compassion.

Let’s explore five practical ways to raise compassionate kids using their eyes, ears, mouth, hands and feet!

1. Eyes: What our kids see (you do)

A close-up of a boy opening his eyes really wide. He is wearing a pink shirt.

The closest model of compassion that our kids have is us! Like it or not, our kids always have their eyes on us. It may feel like a lot of pressure— but it is a big, beautiful opportunity in our journey to raising compassionate kids.

Think about all the things you are passionate about that you want to pass on to your kids. Maybe it’s your love for reading or the outdoors. Naturally, the more you love something, the more you make time for it. So, likely, if you are a fitness nut, your children will see you making time each week for a run or two.

In the same way, the more we ask God to fill our hearts with His compassion for others, the more He will give to us (John 14:13). And the more He gives to us, the more it will naturally pour out of our lives and the more we will desire it. When we work to commit His word to memory—including Bible verses about generosity and compassion—we will be drawn to the things He calls us towards: loving God and loving others.

Make an intentional effort to allow your kids to see you loving God and loving others.

Here are a few practical ideas:

  • Spend your “quiet time” in the open. Choose to read your Bible out in the open of your home. If you have young children, set them up with some books and toys beside you while you read Scripture.
  • Openly share about family giving practices. If you tithe at church, give to a charity or volunteer take time to talk to your kids about your “why”. If you sponsor a child with Compassion, consider reading and writing child letters together as a family and praying for the child you sponsor together.
  • Commit to showing compassion to those closest to you first. Sometimes it can be easier to practice what we preach outside of our home. But cultivating an everyday practice of compassion has a profound impact on those nearest to us. Ask God to help you model compassion to those in your home so that you may be a witness to your kids and family first.

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”

Mother Teresa

2. Ears: What our kids hear and consume

A mom sits at a kitchen table with a little girl reading through some magazines.

We live in a culture that is constantly pumping out the latest and greatest media. Whether it’s the newest Netflix series or the latest viral TikTok, new media inundates the world we live in. But with the rise of accessibility to media comes another, more hopeful reality. There are more incredible resources available to parents than ever before—resources that can help us fill our children’s hearts with compassion.

From books and podcasts, to TV shows and movies, there are people working hard to create art that is overflowing with beauty, truth and compassion.

Here are just a few truth-filled resources for raising compassionate kids:

Music and Podcasts:

  • Paws & Tales: Created by Insight for Living and Chuck Swindoll, this podcast includes episodes about sharing with others, putting others first and serving one another.
  • Adventures in Odyssey: An oldie but a goodie, this classic radio drama by Focus on the Family follows familiar characters learning biblical truths in everyday life.
  • Lamplight Kids Stories: This podcast showcases virtues like contentment, kindness and compassion through engaging children’s stories.
  • God’s Big Story: Presented by Kaleidoscope and The Village Church, this podcast takes kids through immersive Bible stories, helping them apply biblical truths to their lives in fun and practical ways.
  • Slugs and Bugs: Engaging videos and songs featuring Bible verses that teach about generosity, compassion and mercy.

Books and Devotionals:

Movies and Videos:

  • Queen of Katwe (PG): The inspiring true story of a girl from the slums of Uganda who becomes a chess champion.
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (PG): The true story of a young boy from Malawi, Africa, who created a device to restore the land and save his village from famine.
  • The Bible Project + Compassion Video Series: These videos on compassion, justice and generosity are accompanied by a family discussion guide and printable prayer cards!
  • Saddleback Kids: This video channel has hundreds of animated Bible stories and lessons of biblical principles like love, compassion and kindness!

3. Mouth: How our kids speak to and about others

3 girls holding cups talk and laugh with each other outside of a school. They are wearing orange uniforms.

The way we talk to and about others makes an impact on how we view the world.

To help our kids speak words of life to and about those who are different than them (Ephesians 4:29), they must have an understanding of the struggles others go through.

Talking to your kids about poverty is a great place to start. Conducting safe and open conversations about how others live is a great way to keep the communication lines open. It will allow a comfortable space for kids to ask questions and be curious. Pray and ask God to give you wisdom as you approach these conversations and seek to raise compassionate kids.

When our kids have perspective of how others live, they can learn how to speak with and to others with compassion and integrity.

Try committing this verse to memory as a family! Consider writing it out and having it in somewhere visible in your home:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Ephesians 4:29

4. Hands: What our kids give away to others

A little boy smiles and holds his hands high in the air. You can see the blue sky and clouds.

In Acts 20:35, Paul reminds us of Jesus’ call to generosity: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

One way we can teach practical compassion is to remind our kids of this truth: it is truly better to give than to receive. This is a very visual, hands-on way for our kids to practice compassion and generosity.

Here are a few simple ideas:

  • Give away unneeded toys and clothes to a local missional thrift store.
  • Give to a charity of choice on a birthday, holiday or special occasion.
  • Give to a local food bank, particularly around holidays centred on family meals.
  • Sponsor a child as a family.

5. Feet: Where our kids go

A little girl in a blue dress walks across the sandy ground. She is smiling and wearing red pants

Sticking to what’s comfortable is easy.

Staying close to what is known and familiar is our natural instinct. But to allow our kids to see what a life of compassion looks like, we must remember the power of proximity.  What if we stepped outside our comfort zones with our kids? What if we walked toward people different than us? Where could we do this?

Here are a few ideas:

Be sure to use your discretion if your child is at the right age and stage for each.

  • Visit a museum that shares about historical events of injustice.
  • Commit to serving as a family at a local food bank.
  • Ask your church about service opportunities they are involved in locally and join in.
  • Encourage your children to invite in kids being excluded at school or on the playground.
  • Travel with Compassion to meet the child you sponsor!
A group of kids are running and laughing in the sunshine on the sandy ground.

Raising compassion-filled kids is a long but exciting journey! As you continue to disciple your children in the ways of Christ, we pray that these practical tips will serve as a valuable tool as you go.

Be encouraged as you go along in your parenting journey. God goes before you and will give you all you need.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

Hey, parents! Looking to dig deeper into raising compassionate kids?

Check out our free family devotional, Step Into My Shoes!

Start your journey

Laura Phillips

Laura Phillips

Laura Phillips is a Content Specialist at Compassion Canada. She is passionate about pursuing justice and mercy through writing, crafting, music, and sharing stories over a cup of strong coffee.