In our first world country of Canada, even if your family is considered to be poor or low income, it can be very hard to fully comprehend the poverty levels of a developping country. It’s so easy to take for granted what we have and complain about what we don’t have that when we get a chance to compare it to someone who has nothing or just a little thing – it’s a real eye-opener.

stepintomyshoes_logoCompassion Canada has put together a 7 part series called Step Into My Shoes that takes you on a day-to-day journey with the family of Pastor Tom, his wife Nancy, and their 12 kids. They live in a tiny village in Uganda, Africa and their lives are very different than our life here.

The lessons are divided into seven steps. Each step includes a script for an adult to say, along with discussion provoking questions, videos, and activities that you can do with your family at home. Although designed for families with elementary-aged students,  they have also provided adaptations for families with preschoolers or teenagers with age-appropriate activities and challenges. {Compassion Canada also has a site with a curriculum specifically geared to youth. It’s called True Story and has a 6-week lesson plan that dives more into poverty and God.}

Step Into My Shoes Curriculum

For example, in lesson 3 we get to see how blessed we are to have easy and constant access to clean, fresh water. Watching kids having to walk and bike for several miles a day to get dirty water….. it makes you think. That was in contrast to the host family of the program. Their water getting experience is much better than that of many others – thanks to a well they can walk to with water they can carry home.

The activity / challenge that goes along with this particular lesson is to cover up and tape off all the taps in your home other than the most inconvenient one to get to. We choose the one in the backyard. It didn’t last very long because the kids were frustrated that it was “too far.” They learned fast how easy we have it. It was also a great learning realization to how much we just use water willy-nilly in our lives. Showers. Brushing our teeth. Running the dishwasher. Watering the garden. Playing in the sprinkler. Filling up the kiddie pool. Washing the car. We are so careless and excessive in our water usage. These people have to be wise with their water, especially those who have to carry it for miles.

StepIntoMyShoes_Water

This program has really given me an appreciation for poverty. Our family has so much. In our own society’s standards, I’m sure it would be easy enough to be considered poor – living off a single income so I can stay home. But we are so rich. Compared to so many, we are abundantly rich.

One thing I have enjoyed about taking this journey is noticing that even though the host family in the series have so SO much less than us….. they have enough. And they are happy. I’m hoping that is the take away for my boys. Realizing that all THIS, around us… is MORE than enough. Stuff doesn’t make us happy, keep us safe, give us hope, or an education. It is not important. As long as we have a family, a shelter, water, food, and a way to learn…. we have more than enough.

I love that there is a great list of ideas for how we, as a family, can take the next step. How we can reach out to our community, our city, our world and help others who live in poverty. It’s a great way to move beyond the videos and practically make a difference.

All in all, I have been quite impressed by the quality of the presentation and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of walking in the shoes of another family, comparing our lives to theirs.

To find out more, visit their website: Step Into My Shoes.

3 Comment(s)

  • by joan Posted July 20, 2016 1:36 pm

    love this! thanks!

  • by Tina Posted July 26, 2016 12:45 pm

    This looks like a great website and learning opportunity. I was really excited to hear about it. My one wish is that it wasn’t religious or that it wasn’t focused on one religion. We are not religious and it can be hard to find resources that teach compassion, empathy, sacrifice and caring without a religious perspective.

    I think we will use this great resource but we will have to discuss religions and why it’s important to be empathetic and helpful regardless of beliefs or lack of beliefs. My son (and myself) tend to shut down when people start quoting scripture or talking about gods. I’ve realized I discount what people are saying as soon as religion is mentioned. I smile politely but it’s a real turn off for me.

    Do you or any of your readers have any resources they can recommend that are not from a religious point of view?

    I’m sure I’m not the only human to feel this way. And I hope I haven’t offended anyone by posting this comment.

    • by LisaMarie Posted July 26, 2016 2:28 pm

      Hey Tina,

      I can totally understand and appreciate your comment – no offense taken from me! I think compassion and caring and understanding other cultures and ourselves is vital to anyone, no matter what belief system you have. I don’t actually know of many programs like this, especially dealing directly with third world countries that isn’t faith-based, sorry!

      You can just skip any mention in the prompting scripts about Bible verses, etc, but I can’t remember if there were a lot of faith-related comments in the videos, etc.

      If I ever find any secular programs with the same theme, I will be sure to share about it.

      Thanks for response 🙂
      Lisa Marie.

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