Thinking about the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan as well as the rising crises in our own country with fuel costs and rising food prices and health care. Families are needing to choose between fuel and bills. These issues/discussions about them can be alarming for our children, as well as the images of the current state of Japan, Libya, and its people.
I am not an alarmist of the end times, but these issues are there and the end is coming (as it has been since Christ assended, and will remain until he returns. Rememeber even He doesnt know the day or hour).
I think we need to teach our children to be compassionate and concerned about others in needs without dwelling on the images too much, and that they are worried about adult topics. Fred Rodgers has several articles on his website on how to teach children about things in the media or scary topics. If you go to the PBS website, you can find lots of information on many topics, but here are the links to dealing with scary news and war and violence.
Some ways to work on teaching compassion to children are to:
1. Have a toy give away, clean your child's room with them and any toys in good condition give to either a children's hospital (they dont usually take stuffed things) or to a local charity
2. Find items to pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child with Samaritans Purse http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/
3. Have a birthday party for the Peter Pan Project which benefits Children's Hospitals (you have a birthday party and instead of your child getting the gifts they are collected to be donated to a local children's hospital).
4. Food Drives (collecting food for your local food bank)
5. Donate $$ - giving some of your allowance to church or missions
6. ... Does anyone else have ideas, these are the few I came up with