Note from Kat : This post is from my friend and monthly contributor Liz Griffin.
The older I get the more thankful I am for my parents. They taught me from an early age about Jesus and were very active in helping me develop my relationship with Him. In addition to that, my parents were very intentional about developing my worldview – especially as it relates to issues of social justice.
Whenever I talk about being a naptime abolitionist, I am always asked about how we can raise our kids to be justice-minded. I am certainly not an expert, but my parents modeled it pretty well for me and I thought I would share a few ideas with you mamas today! Here we go…
1. Discuss the idea of justice in the Bible. If my kids know anything about justice I want them to know that it starts with God. Social justice is such a buzz word these days and kind of a trendy thing. That’s not bad at all, but I want to make sure justice isn’t just about doing good deeds.
It is an active way to show who God is to the world. Memorize scriptures that talk about justice and discuss Bible stories that show us how to treat people and respond to problems. (Hint: pretty much every Bible story fits this description)
2. Pray for an ambulance. When I was a little girl and we would see an ambulance, police car or fire truck with their lights going my mom would always have us pray. It wasn’t some big fancy prayer, just asking God to keep everyone safe and help anyone who is hurt.
This instilled in me the habit of going immediately to God when there is an emergency. I’ve seen acts of terror, natural disasters, extreme poverty and the heavy reality of human trafficking first-hand. My first response when faced with these problems is to pray and ask for God’s help first. Thanks mom!
3. Sponsor a child. This is an awesome thing to do with your kids. It is a tangible way to teach your kids to be generous and also for them to connect personally with a child they are helping. There are lots of great organizations that offer various sponsorship opportunities. Kat has a link to Compassion in the sidebar so that could be a great place to start!
4. Volunteer as a family. Helping out at soup kitchens, packing school supplies for low-income students and visiting elderly are just some great things you can do together. Some of my favorite memories as a kid are when my family served our community together. If you don’t know where to start, talk to your pastor about needs in the community.
5. Model how to interact with others. When a homeless person stops you for help don’t just brush them off. Ask their name and look them in the eye. Show your kids that everyone is important no matter what they look like or how little they have.
6. Read biographies. Go by the library and get some books about people who made a difference in their world. Our family would ready missionary biographies growing up and I loved them. Plenty have been written about famous figures in the area of justice – Martin Luther King, Jr. , Florence Nightingale, or Abraham Lincoln would be great for starters.
7. Talk to them about what justice looks like in their world. One of the biggest misconceptions we have is that to “do justice” we have to become lawyers or move to Africa to build wells. The reality is that we are all called to do justice (Micah 6:8). So talk to your kids about what justice looks like for them. Maybe it is involving a kid who is being left out on the playground or standing up to a bully at school. Show them what they can do right where they are.
8. Take your family to visit another country. Taking your kids to another country is a great way to help them develop a heart for justice and missions. I know that is expensive and may not be possible for everyone to do. However, maybe your family could set a goal of going on a mission trip and start saving for it now.
Mamas, I believe that our kids are going to change the world! It is about just doing little things in the pace of everyday life that we can show them how to love God and love others.
What things do you do to help raise justice-minded kids? Click here to share your ideas and join the discussion!
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Elizabeth is a church planter, speaker, writer and naptime abolitionist. She lives in Texas with her husband and two little kids. Her other hobbies include wasting time on social media, trying to remember where she parked her car & browsing Pinterest for DIY projects she will never actually make. You can visit her over at Lark & Bloom or on Twitter @larkandbloom.