Compassion Unit Study
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By Beverly S. Krueger
If you have
never used a character quality as a topic for a unit study,
you may think doing so will cause you to neglect academics.
Although science or social studies may not play as important
a role in a character study unit, they can find a place. The
goal of a character quality unit is not to impart new academic
knowledge, but to learn more about God's ways and to search
our lives and our family life for ways we can develop a particular
character quality more fully. While working towards that goal
all of the various academic skills, reading, writing, thinking,
organizing, will be used.
you choose a character quality to study you will need to bring
that study into focus for your family. I'm using the quality
of compassion to demonstrate the many facets that a character
quality study can have. In the New Open Bible, compassion is
defined as suffering with another. That was not what I expected.
I had a working definition of compassion in my own mind that
included helping others or feeling sorry for others in the midst
of trouble, but the thought of suffering with another was new
to me. I realized I needed to do some study of compassion on
my own before I would be prepared to work on this area with
I went to
the Bible to read what it had to say about compassion and began
meditating on some of those verses. If you have Greek or Hebrew
Bible study tools you can also use them to learn how the various
words translated as compassion are defined in those languages.
You can write your own definition of compassion using the scriptures
you have studied.
have spent time meditating on a particular quality, what it
is, how God expresses that quality and how that quality impacted
the lives of Bible figures, you can focus on asking God what
He would have you and your family learn through this study.
Once you begin your study you will often find that God brings
out more specific issues for your family to consider, but it
is good to have a starting place as you begin your study.
qualities are best understood by their expression. As you read
scripture with your children begin a list of ways you find this
quality expressed by God and others in the Bible. Biographies
are a great way to focus on how one person expressed a particular
quality through their life. The life of Amy Carmichael offers
many examples of compassion expressed. You can write short stories
about people demonstrating one of the aspects of compassion
you have discovered.
you will want to focus on how this quality is or is not expressed
in your family. In what areas are you succeeding in demonstrating
compassion and in what areas are you failing? As the Holy Spirit
brings conviction, ask Him to show you what your family can
specifically do to instill within yourselves greater compassion.
Perhaps you will be called to help someone for whom you cannot
easily feel compassion. Often by being obedient to God's
call we develop compassion, because to truly help someone else
we must put ourselves in their place or see a situation with
their eyes. In fact, when we feel compassion for someone else,
we suffer with them. What we began to do out of obedience, we
continue to do from compassion.
included my notes on compassion to give you an idea of what
a character quality study can include. They are by no means
complete since they are an expression of compassion seen through
the filter of my life. While we may choose to study compassion
intensely for a period of time, as God continues to reveal more
and more of his own character to us, we will gain a deeper and
richer understanding of compassion throughout our lifetime.
Resource Listing - questions, scripture references, expressions
of compassion, books, websites
Copyright © 1998 Eclectic Homeschool Association