The Compassion Experience: The Exhibit that Taught My Kids Their Privilege

The Compassion Experience: The Exhibit that Taught My Kids Their Privilege

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Tonight is Oscar night. Most people like to stay home and see the dresses and awards but for some reason I have never liked award ceremonies with celebrities. Something about a bunch of insanely wealthy people wearing dresses that cost thousands of dollars (that they got for free mind you), in tiny bodies they probably starved for 14 days, graciously thanking everyone, saying they weren’t expecting to win (yes you did)……’s just too phony to me. It just seems like so much of that money spent on these elaborate parties, dresses, dinners, swag bags, S.W.A.T. teams (yes, we saw a play 3 blocks away from the red carpet two years ago and the security was ridiculous)  and everything else that can be marketed could be used so much better elsewhere. So instead we decided to get out this evening to meet up with a follow ISPer and take our kids to the Compassion Experience, a traveling display of sorts taking you through what it is like to live as many do in complete poverty in a third world country. Unsure if my 5 year olds would really grasp it, they actually did – better than we could have hoped.



To make this short and sweet here is what we found:

  1. If you try to explain anything to kids on their terms, they will not only understand it, they will take it to heart.:   To our surprise, the exhibit had a monologue edited for children to better tell both Kiwi and Jey’s story in a softer, more kid-friendly way. At age 5, they were completely able to follow along and understand that we were walking through these two kids’ lives somewhere far away.
  2. Kids have so much compassion: We watched the expressions on their faces as they went room to room. They were connected to these two kids telling their stories on the iPhone/headset so much that they wanted to make sure they were okay. That they now had food. That they now had families. That they now had a place to live and were still alive.
  3. My kids are spoiled. We live in one of the most affluent, safest places in the world and they have no idea. However, how can they know if we don’t show them the other side?:  At the end of each room, we stated and reinstated, “Do you know what this is? This is where Kiwi lived. This is where Jey slept. This is all they had to eat. That dirty water, that was all they had.”. My children were in disbelief. BUT, after we discussed on the way home, they started to piece it together and make sense of it all. They came to their own conclusion after we broke it down and talked about what they experienced, discussed, and put it into terms of what if this was you, your friend, your room, and so on.
  4. The impact is non-existent unless we discuss, discuss, and discuss again.:  Peanuts wanted to know all about it. When, where, how, why and what. Angel on the other hand after a few minutes of discussing didn’t want to talk about it because it would give her nightmares and made her “very, very sad”. We explained to them that this is reality. They are safe. They are fed. They have lots of people that love them. This is not their reality, BUT it is for many, many people and they need to understand it. Our parenting style – for it or against it – is that they need to know the reality of things. Not everyone gets a trophy. Not everyone is good in this world. You will fall down. You will fail at times. To us, this exhibit was an introductory to some of the causes we are going to be working with this year and to start them thinking outside of their own existence.

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My twin 5 year olds did not take this excursion lightly at the end of the day. All the way unless their last goodnight the interrogated us about these two children, Kiwi and Jey. When we asked what their thoughts were on the exhibit here is what they said:

Peanuts: “It made me sad. I wanted them to be okay. They seemed nice and I want to help them. Can we help them?”

Angel: “It made me feel very, very sad. They didn’t have food. Jey went to prison because he wanted food. I felt more sad for Jey because he didn’t have a bed and Kiwi did. And he said no one told him they loved him. That’s sad Mommy.”

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So, now I quickly jump into acts of service and helping others as soon as I can  while that compassion is still there, right? That is my goal at least as I believe consistency is key and will be key to making the girls compassionate and giving.

On a side note, my friends’ young daughters (also ISP Ambassadors), on their own without any influence decided to sponsor a child after the exhibit. One child each, with their own money, helping send them to school and improve their lives – all by themselves. So amazing.

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hope to see you all at the Easter Basket making event. If you did not get the evite or would like to invite anyone else please do!