Tag Archives: compassion

Develop Compassion in our Children from Young

The disappearance of the MH370 plane. The sinking of the Korean ferry. The fighting and bloodshed in the Middle East. The crash of the MH17 plane. And now, the Taiwan TransAsia Airways plane crash.

Almost every day we hear of disasters, destruction and deaths around the world. Yet here in Singapore, our kids are sheltered from the cries of those who are facing these crises. Though it is a blessing that Singaporeans experience general peace and stability, it is easy for our children to become complacent and apathetic to the pressing needs of those around them.

How can we, as parents, do our best to make sure this does not happen?

When news of disasters comes on, refrain from thinking that our kids are too young to feel for the victims or do anything about it. Sometimes, even young children can surprise us with their amazing capacity for compassion.

Here are some practical things that you can do with your children:

+ Use this time to engage them in age-appropriate conversations about the frailty of life, the suffering that goes on in this world, and the need to help others

+ Allow them to share their own thoughts and feelings on the current situation and think about the kinds of difficulties the victims might be facing.

+ Challenge them to think of ways they can offer help – saying a prayer for those affected or contributing a little of their savings to fundraising efforts.

+ If possible, they can even write notes of encouragement to the victims and their families. Previously the Korean Embassy in Singapore set up a memorial halls for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster where visitors were free to pay their respects. Going to such memorial halls with your children is another option in showing solidarity and compassion with those who grieve.

In closing, it is important to note that we ourselves should also set a good example by showing genuine empathy for these people in need. For example, embarking on a mini project to raise funds as a family would not only serve as good bonding time, it would also give our children a firsthand view of what it means to lend a helping hand. International aid agencies like World Vision and Salvation Army provide trustworthy avenues for donations raised to be duly sent to affected countries.

As Singapore celebrates 49 years of growing prosperity and efficiency, let us also be known as a nation which shows increasing compassion for our neighbouring countries. And this has to start from the young, the future generation of Singapore.

Editor’s note: Our hearts and thoughts are with the families of those who are grieving and have lost loved ones. Should you know of someone who needs help dealing with grief, Focus on the Family Singapore has trained, professional counselors who are able to journey through your loved one. Please call us at 6336 1444 for more details.


Much to think about Lin-sanity

Lin-sanity… yea, you know what I am talking about. Just a few weeks ago, our Facebook Newsfeed was dominated by news and videos of the latest NBA star, Jeremy Lin. “Does this guy get anymore awesome??!” This was my friend’s Facebook status after reading The Faith and Fate of Jeremy Lin on http://www.patheos.com. I can understand my friend’s exclamation. I mean a Harvard student, the underdog, near perfect stats yet humble, unassuming and persevering.

Once in a while, we need people like him to inspire us. It was revealed that Jeremy Lin’s parents played a pivotal role in shaping his character through the game of basketball. They were always more interested in his behavior on court than in his stats. If he played a good game (i.e. scored well) but lost his temper in the course of it, the topic of discussion his parents wanted to talk to him about after the game would be his behavior. No wonder Jeremy Lin is dazzling the crowd, not just with his skills but his humble attitude towards success and fame.

My son is 6 months old and I won’t lie, I simply adore him and I am guilty of spoiling him, almost. So it’s good that in view of the current of Lin-sanity, I remind myself of what truly matters in my child’s life.

1. Character
Does my son know the good, feel the good and do the good? We teach this at ‘No Apologies’, our character-based sexuality education for youth. It’s not enough for my child to know the right thing to do and feel in his heart that he ought to do something, he needs to translate it into action.

2. Confidence
Is my son secure in his identity? Jeremy Lin looks different from the rest on the court but yet he seems comfortable and confident. The security I’m talking about is not learned through any Toastmasters or Networking 101 courses, but established at a child’s tender age when he is loved unreservedly by his parents.

3. Compassion
What breaks my son’s heart? And I’m not talking about that first crush or rejection he is going to get from that girl. I’m talking about a passion, an injustice he sees in the society which stirs and moves him to action.

4. Calling
Finally, what is my son’s life going to count for? Once he grasps that, everyday for him will be joyous and purposeful. Isn’t that life at its best?

I know, my son is still a baby and I need to chill a little. But this is more for me than him. There is a wise saying, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” My husband and I have the responsibility to train and nurture this precious life given to us. And hopefully someday, he may just be that inspiration for others.

This week’s blog is written by Vicky Ho, Senior Communications Manager, at Focus on the Family Singapore.


 You might have seen the pictures on Facebook. The day after our anniversary, my husband was trying to be a hero and the model handyman of the house. While fixing the light bulb in our bathroom, he slipped off the step ladder and came crashing down, right through the ceiling. He suffered a deep and long gash on his forearm plus a couple of other nasty wounds, apart from the scraps and bruises all over his hands, arms and back. Miraculously, he didn’t need stitches.

I didn’t realize it, but my son had rushed to the bathroom behind me upon hearing the crash. He saw the extent of the damage in the bathroom and his father groaning and grimacing in pain, took his favourite teddy and headed off to the living room, calling out to us that he was going to pray for Daddy.

He sounded shaken, so I called him to come to where I was attending to my husband’s wounds. When he came, he started crying. Later he was able to articulate that he felt fearful because he saw the extent of damage to our bathroom – it must have left him with a sense of the gravity of the situation.

Over the following week, he would comfort my husband by patting him on the back or giving him a back massage (his interpretation of it), while saying, “It’s okay, Dad. Be brave.” Each day when he woke up and when he saw Dad again at the end of the day, he’d ask, “Are you okay, Dad?” or “Are you well?” or “Is it better?”

When the contractor came to reinstate our ceiling, he told my husband, “Don’t do it again, Dad.”

I was reminded about compassion from my son. I am as terrified and irked by the sight of blood as my husband, but all things considered, I think I handled the situation amazingly well. With my son terrified at my husband’s predicament and my husband terrified by his injuries, it left me the only one to preserve some calm and order in that moment, and bring comfort and reassurance to the family.

By the way, it cost us $600 to change the light bulb.