Teaching kids empathy can be a great joy and struggle in parenting. We are all self-centered by nature, and showing children how to be other-centered takes some stretching. Helping a child understand how to “put himself in another person’s shoes” can be a great way to teach empathy.
What about looking at Bible stories in a new way? In the book The Whale Tells His Side of the Story, author Troy Schmidt imagines what the whale felt like with Jonah hanging around in his belly. (The subtitle, Hey God, I’ve Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I’m Gonna Throw Up, pretty much says it all.) In the same vein as The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Frog Prince Continued, Schmidt rethinks Bible stories. He’s also written the following biblical “other sides”:
- The Frog Tells Her Side of the Story – Moses and the plagues
- The Lion Tells His Side of the Story – Daniel and the lions’ den
- The Donkeys Tells His Side of the Story – Jesus riding into Jerusalem
- The Raven Tells His Side of the Story – Noah’s ark
Even if you aren’t able to purchase these books, having your child imagine another side of a Bible tale is a good way to spark imagination and explain having empathy. It can be a funny activity or a serious talk.
What “other sides” can you imagine?