While you are out walking together, this simple exercise will help you show your children the value of coming alongside a friend or family member to encourage them during a hard time.
When you are out on your walk, go ahead and allow a safe distance to separate you and your children. Hopefully at least one of your children will call out, “Wait for me!” Use the opportunity to discuss how simply walking beside someone can be an act of compassion. Use the discussion questions provided, if you wish.
You may want to follow up your discussion by reading the familiar poem Footprints. Talk about how God not only walks with us, He “carries” us during hard times.
Read Matthew 19:13-15 and point out that Jesus touched little children to let them know they were important to Him.
At the close of your discussion, pray with your children and ask God to give you opportunities to encourage others. Then watch for practical ways your children can put their suggestions into action.
Questions for discussion
- Why do we usually want another person walking alongside us?
- Can you tell about a time when you felt really sad or disappointed about something?
- Who or what helped you feel better?
- How can we “come alongside” a person who is having a tough time? (Examples of a tough time might be losing a pet or loved one, being sick, feeling lonely, moving to another place, getting injured, being laughed at or made the brunt of a joke, or feeling embarrassed over a mistake such as spilling food or drink.)
- If a friend or family member is having a hard time, how can you remind them that God is with them?
Having another person walk alongside us is encouraging. To encourage simply means to help another person find the courage he or she needs to continue on. When we are miserable, it usually feels better if we know someone cares about our sadness.
We can encourage someone who is feeling sad, worried, scared, disappointed or hurt through a kind touch or by simply being with them. In Matthew 19:13-15 we read that Jesus touched little children to let them know they were important to Him.
God provides comfort through His Holy Spirit, but He also wants us to comfort and encourage each other.
Romans 12:6-8 “
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Matthew 19:13-15 “
Then children were brought to Him that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And He laid His hands on them and went away.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”