Last night, it was Homey’s turn to teach Family Home Evening.
He had just rushed in the door after a (most-likely stressful) day at work, when he was reminded by the kids that it was his day to teach Family Home Evening. His topic was compassion. After only a few minutes, he came up with a great lesson, thanks to the wonderful resources at lds.org.
He began the lesson by having me read the following quote:
“Compassion means to feel love and mercy toward another person. It means to have sympathy and desire to relieve the suffering of others. It means to show kindness and tenderness toward another. The Savior has asked us to do the things which He has done, to bear one another’s burdens, to comfort those who need comfort, to mourn with those who mourn, to feed the hungry, visit the sick, to succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and to ‘teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom’ [D&C 88:77].”
We then watched a short video found here about compassion by Barbara Thompson.
As Homey gave the lesson, we discussed what exactly compassion is. We talked about how it is related to love, and when we are baptized, we covenant to be compassionate by bearing one another’s burdens, comforting those who need comfort, mourning with those that mourn, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, succoring the weak, lifting up others, and teaching.
The older two were not completely certain what sympathy is. I explained it as lovingly understanding others. Sometimes we see other’s go through hard things that we haven’t gone through, but we can try to understand. For example, perhaps a friend has a pet that dies. We don’t have pets, so we can’t completely understand what they’re going through. This doesn’t mean that we say to our friend, “Who cares. There’s nothing you can do about it now. Everything dies.” That is not a compassionate response – even if it is true. Instead, when we have compassion, we try to sympathize. We imagine what it would be like to have a pet – a cute little companion. Often people have close relationships with their pets. Pets love unconditionally. Suddenly, one day, it is gone. We can imagine the loss that someone would sense when their beloved pet is gone. The pet won’t come back, either. There would be a pain at such a loss, and when we have compassion, we seek to understand it and extend love and comfort to the person who suffers.
We also talked about how compassion can help us to love everyone – even the people who hurt us. We discussed the example of the Savior, who hung on the cross, and said:
“… Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” – Luke 23:34
Jesus was able to forgive those who sent him to his death because he had compassion on them. He understood that they didn’t realize who He was. He sought to understand their hearts, rather than make a quick judgement. Even though we can’t know the heart of another, we can do more to understand others – which lead to an increase of love and compassion.
I love how Family Home Evening can teach all of us so much. We think that we’re teaching our children, yet I find that I’m always being taught more than I can teach.
Last night’s FHE wasn’t really anything dramatically spectacular. It was planned in a moment’s notice. Yet we had the Spirit in our home. A sense of loved filled our family. Even the T-Rex was calming down.
It was cute to see him nod off, so I took a picture. The snap woke him up, then he realized what was going on, and smiled…
After the lesson, we headed on the balcony and watched an amazing Arizona sunset while eating ice cream cones. Life doesn’t get much better than Family Home Evening…
Check out the resources that the Church has at lds.org…Did you know that there was a website dedicating to “Happiness in Family Life?” This is where Homey found the quotes and videos on compassion. Next time you’re in charge of FHE, and you’re feeling pressed for time, go to Happiness in Family Life, and you’ll find plenty of information to start a wonderful discussion in your family.
What did you do for FHE? Check out another great Family Home Evening Experience over at Jocelyn’s Blog.