Friday, April 03, 2009

What a Great Way to Teach Children Compassion!

Teacher Kathy Barton & 4th Graders Help Handicapped Pets
It’s about compassion. It’s about learning to care in a world that doesn’t always stress the importance of reaching out to those less fortunate. That’s what Kathy Barton, a teacher in Oklahoma, is teaching her fourth grade class each year. The children learn about handicapped animals—injured dogs and cats. Like people, some disabilities come by way of birth, others at the hands of human cruelty. The children learn a lesson that is invaluable: That what they do in response to suffering matters. That everyone—even a young child—can make a difference.It all started in 2005 when Kathy heard about two deaf and blind Aussies that were about to be killed. Kathy researched “lethal whites” and decided to intervene. She rescued the two pups, adopting one as her own – “Hope.” Ms. Barton shared the story with her class and brought in her Hope. It didn’t take much to ignite the children’s natural sense of concern. They brainstormed about different ways to help handicapped pets and how to raise money. In short time they raised several hundred dollars. Then they posted their desire to help injured animals on the discussion board of Enter Boo. Boo was a dachshund in Tennessee who had been attacked by three teenagers, leaving her back legs paralyzed. Her owner neglected her. She was eventually rescued and a woman in Maine agreed to serve as an interim adoptive caretaker. But the dog would need some special help to address her paralysis as well as plane fare to get her to her Maine. heard about the dog and called Ms. Barton’s class. The class purchased a wheelchair through and paid for her plane fare. Boo, renamed Johanna, is now a joyful little dog with a loving owner. One look at this sweetheart would bring you to tears—what was once a discarded, unwanted life, is now a playful, happy family member, full of love.Each year, Ms. Barton inspires her fourth-graders to embark on their own efforts to see compassion in action by selecting one or more animals from to assist. How will what they did—what they made happen—make an impact on their lives? In a world where violence is rampant, acts of generosity and kindness are a beacon. Helping handicapped animals through teaches children that they have the power to make a difference. They learn the value of a life, and that another’s injury or ill fortune can be an opportunity to lend a hand. If they can do that for a dog or cat, think of what it can mean for the world! Powerful lessons. That’s why Ms. Barton’s fourth grade class matters. It’s about compassion. And in our world, that’s priceless.

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