Teen Compassion Challenge

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 in Compassion - No Comments

In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise– in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? (Psalm 56:10-11)

On September 11, a man named Todd Beamer boarded flight 93. The majority of people in America had never heard this name before, but after that day his notoriety has grown considerably. Did he write a hit pop single? Did he produce a groundbreaking video? Did he write an amazing best seller? Actually, Todd Beamer did none of these things, but his actions far surpassed all musician, producer, and author’s works combined.

Flight 93 was supposed to be the fourth plane used as a devastating weapon against our nation. The smallest flight to be hijacked with only 45 people aboard out of a possible 289 had 84% of its capacity unused. Yet these people stood up to the attackers and thwarted a fourth attempted destruction of a national landmark, saving untold numbers of lives in the process. One of those people was Todd Beamer- a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ. Moments before he and the other passengers rallied against the hijackers, he prayed Psalm 23 with a phone operator, and his last words were: “are you ready? Let’s roll!”

Todd Beamer gave his life so that other lives could be saved. His faith in Christ and his assurance that he would be in heaven gave him the tremendous courage it took to accomplish his heroic acts.

In Acts 6 and 7, we read about a man of God named Stephen. He was full of faith, power, and conviction. He was brought before the Jewish ruling council on trumped-up charges and allowed to make a statement. Stephen, however, decided to play a different role. Rather than allowing it to be a setup for him, he turned into a powerful condemnation of the religious leaders. They despised him and his message, so they dragged him out of Jerusalem and stoned him. Stephen fell to his knees and prayed for his killers. The way he died spoke as eloquently as his sermon.

These men should serve as an amazing example to us. We are called to be people of conviction, standing tall for Christ and serving Him fearlessly. Be prepared believer- you never know what day you may be called on to offer yourself for His glory.


  1. Would you be willing to pay the ultimate price for Christ?
  2. What are your biggest fears about serving God everyday?
  3. What would you have done if you were Todd Beamer?

Are You a Caring Person?

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 in Compassion - No Comments

In John 13:34-35, Jesus gives a commandment for us to love others as He has loved us.

Take this self-evaluation and decide for yourself by answering

  • I am never mean, cruel or insensitive.
  • I treat people with kindness and generosity.
  • I am charitable.
  • I give of myself for the benefit of others.
  • I am responsive to the concerns and needs of others.

I conclude that I am / am not a caring person because: _______________________.

Remember, caring is not just a way of feeling, it’s a way of behaving!

Now that you have some idea about whether or not you are a caring person, let’s go a little further.  What are your thoughts to 5 questions below?  Feel free to post your responses here or on our Facebook page.

  1. A lot of people say that teenagers are self absorbed and don’t care about anything but themselves. Why do you agree or disagree?
  2. In what ways is our world a caring world?  In what ways is it uncaring?  What could each of us do to make this a more caring world?
  3. Why do you agree or disagree with the following statement: It’s not cool to be a caring person.
  4. To what extent would you inconvenience yourself for another person?
  5. Why would you give or not give money to a stranger on the sidewalk who asked for spare change?  Would it make a difference if the person were a) a mother with child, b) very old, c) from a different culture? Does giving money to a stranger have anything to do with caring?

Giving: The Heart of Compassion

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 in Compassion - No Comments

The Christmas season is here — with sparkling lights, glittering trees, and magical store displays.  But as we look beyond the external, the research on adolescent development tells us something very important about what happens in teen’s internal worlds.  It’s a season that shapes their lifelong identities about giving.  What are you doing this year to help children and teens internalize the gift of giving?

Of course, many teens associate Christmas with being receivers of gifts. But according to studies in human development, it is the giving of gifts that reaps the biggest psychological rewards.  Parents can help teens realize these rewards by teaching them how to give back during the Christmas season and throughout the year. There are many ways to give back, including through the excellent projects listed below.

Five Ways for Families & Teens to Internalize the Gift of Giving


To mark the season of giving, from November 29 through December 13, each time a teen makes a pledge to volunteer through GenerationOn, its partners at Hasbro will donate a toy to a child in need.  As part of their Holiday Gift Campaign, GenerationOn encourages youths, parents, teachers and nonprofit organizations to explore its many online resources, including holiday service projects that help teens turn pledges into projects. Also through pledging, children become engaged in a youth community that brings the gift of giving into young people’s lives throughout the year. What better time than Christmas to get your teens to take a volunteer pledge!


The Family-to-Family project helps American families “share their bounty” with others who are impoverished.  They will link your family with a family struggling to put food on the table.  Once a month, they will ask you to either shop, pack and send a box of groceries to them, or make a donation that allows them to do it for you.  The best way is to get teens involved in the shopping, in the process of giving!  Encourage your child to reflect on what others would want and how he or she can empathize with families different from their own.


The nonprofit organization AnySoldier.com invites you and your teen to help make Christmas special for American soldiers stationed in harm’s way. You can choose to support any of the Armed Services, decide what you want to send, and get your teens involved in making cards and selecting gifts. Plan ahead so a soldier in Iraq, Afghanistan, or another place of global conflict can receive your family’s heartfelt gratitude for the job they do.


The National Coalition for the Homeless is a national network of people committed to ending homelessness.  They work to meet the immediate needs of people who are homeless by providing education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing.  Check their directories of national and local organizations where your family can help this Christmas or throughout the year.


Right now, the programs that put food on the table for America’s vulnerable children, seniors, and working families are in jeopardy.  Your help is desperately needed to fill food banks and pantries throughout the country.  Feeding America, a nonprofit network of member food banks, can help your family find convenient ways to give.

Turn Family Values into Action

What values does your family hold about giving?  Christmas is a perfect time to talk about your values and make a plan to put them into action now and in the coming year. We are often so busy during Christmas that it is easy to go through the motions of gift-gifting without connecting to the deeper meaning of giving. Yet it is these deep connections that shapes teen’s identities and teach them the gift of giving.

John 3:16 is a power lesson on giving.  It teaches compassion and empathy.  It is a great lesson to incorporate in your family tradition and as your teen begins to act independently will help him or her become passionate about giving.  Studies show that what youth learn about giving during childhood and adolescence lasts a lifetime. Your giving will impact future generations.  Merry Christmas! Joyful Giving!

The First of the Critical Areas

Posted on: October 14th, 2011 in Compassion - No Comments

Compassion, unlike confidence and competence, is the first of the critical areas of growth that extends beyond the boundaries of self and acknowledges the importance of others.  When you experience compassion for others – whether family members, friends, teachers, coaches, mentors, and people in the community, you contribute to their well-being as well as having your own well-being enhanced.  

Compassion draws on the notion that we as humans are inherently social creatures.  No matter how confident or competent we may be, we still need other people to create healthy, productive lives.  Ultimately, a person who is compassionate toward others is in tune with himself or herself.  He or she has an awareness of their feelings and thoughts as they relate to both others and self.  Have you ever volunteered to do something for someone without having to be recognized for doing it?  Have you ever volunteered to do something for someone when the recipient of your efforts was not able to express appreciation?  Have you ever visited a nursing home to encourage an incapacitated senior who was not a relative or someone you knew?  Your answer to these questions may be a resounding, “no.”  However, when you come to the realization that you are important and that you matter and are valued, you will begin to experience a love that controls and compels you to have compassion for others.  This love is found in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).