I am hoping to share ten ways to encourage a global perspective with your kids over the next few weeks. Some will get a post of their own, some will be shared together, at the end of each post I would LOVE for you to share your own ideas. The more you share, the more helpful for all of us. Otherwise, you've just got me.
On to #1: In order to encourage a global perspective in your kids, it has to start with You!
Susie Larson writes in her book Growing Grateful Kids that we cannot teach what we do not impart. This is true in growing grateful kids and this is true in growing a global perspective. The needs of our world need to be important to us, if we want our kids to care. We have to expose ourselves to those needs. To allow ourselves to hurt for those who are hurting.
This is not an easy thing. I would much rather keep my head inside my own comfortable house and forget that the majority of the world does not live so comfortably. I know God calls us to be Jesus to those who are hurting, but sometimes it feels to hard to go where He has called.
The Israelites struggled with this too. During Haggai's time (one of the minor prophets), they were called by God to rebuild the temple. They started the job, but then stopped because of outside pressures. Instead they started building comfortable houses for themselves and abandoned their mission.
In her book, The Missional Mom, Helen Lee writes about this time and this people. She said:
During the sixteen years after they abandoned work on the temple, the Israelites demonstrated that God's mission was not as important to them as focusing on their own lives. They were fearful of their surrounding enemies and culture, but instead of engaging in a battle against those pressures, they chose to escape into their paneled houses and ignore the clear calling God had given them to rebuild His temple. The consequence for this abandonment of their calling, in addition to earning God's displeasure, is that their labors produced very little fruit.
Ignorance may be bliss, but God calls us to more. He calls us to care for the poor and defenseless. He calls us to "administer true justice and show compassion and mercy to one another." (Zechariah 7:9) And to do that, we need to expose ourselves to our world and learn about the needs.
So how do we do that in a country where affluence appears to be the norm? Here are a few ideas:
1. Take a Perspective Class. I have many friends who have taken this class and raved. It is a class that "shares how God has been moving, how the global Church has responded, and what the greatest needs in world evangelization are." There are classes all over the country, and on-line classes as well. Visit their website at www.perspectives.org to find out more.
2. Read books and magazines that revolve around this topic. Compassion International and Voice of the Martyrs both produce magazines with articles centered on the needs of people groups around the world. There are a myriad of books that will expand on those needs and our response to them. Two that have been impactful in my life are The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns and The Missional Mom by Helen Lee.
3. If you are presented with an opportunity to travel on a mission trip, take it. It may mean sacrifice financially and emotionally, but nothing enlarges your perspective like seeing firsthand how others around the world actually live.
In order to change the world, we need to know what needs changed. But once we start to expose ourselves to the hurts of the world, it is extremely overwhelming.
He knows every need intimately and He knows how we are best equipped to make a difference. He WANTS to use us to change the world. He WANTS us to be His hands and feet. Are you willing to step out? Seek His wisdom, follow His leading and step by step He will guide your feet.
Now it is YOUR turn! What resources (books, movies, etc.) have had the biggest impact in enlarging your global perspective?