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If given the opportunity to choose our path in life, most of us would pick the easier road with less bumps, pot holes and challenges. I know I would. Simply put, few of us would deliberately choose a difficult journey in life, one riddled with heart ache, pain and loss. Yet in a way, if we choose to be compassionate people, we are choosing to join into someone else’s pain. The word compassion actually means “with suffering.” The root word passion comes from the Latin word “suffering.” If we want to be compassionate people, then in a way, we are inviting suffering into our lives – the suffering of another person. How far are we willing to go to reach out and touch the life of someone else?

Recently I heard the results of a study by the Cato Institute stating, “Poverty is perpetuated through poor parenting.” That statement stuck with me. I must admit, my heart grieves for “at risk” kids who have little hope of breaking through the cycle of poverty. As I began thinking about what I could do to make a difference, My mind was flooded with the  thought, “Karol, you go all over the nation teaching men and women how to be positive parents, why aren’t you going to the impoverished communities in your own city?”

That prompting led me to write a discussion-style curriculum for parents. The lessons enable moms and dads to recognize their responsibilities in raising their families, and guide them to positive action steps. With the concept in place, my next step was to figure out where to implement this unique parenting class. I didn’t know where to go, so I prayed and asked the Lord to show me. Funny thing, I opened up the newspaper and saw an article about Buckner Children and Family Services of North Texas. Buckner has an outreach program in one of the housing developments in Dallas. With a little bit of fear and trembling, I emailed them and asked if they were interested in parenting classes.

They said yes! Oh my, now I had to take a step of faith and step out of my comfort zone and into the lives of men and women that I had never met. I knew that I didn’t understand what their lives were like, but God did.  So I prayed for God to love through me and make this a fruitful and meaningful time together with the parents. He answered that prayer! Since our start 4 years ago, God has done an amazing work and has allowed me to build bridges through loving relationships with the parents in the community. I call the program ENGAGE Positive Parenting Initiative, and we have trained over 60 volunteers and have touched lives in 12 different locations around Dallas and Fort Worth.

It’s time to build back the strength of the family in communities across the nation. I feel like a woman on a mission! Where is God calling you to take a step of faith and step out of your comfort zone?

If you would like to join in our mission through volunteering or praying, we invite you to join us:

www.EngageParenting.com

We are participating in North Texas Giving Day on Sept 22. Here is the link and be sure to choose Engage Parenting in the Organization box. http://womensnpa.wpengine.com/donate/north-texas-giving-day/

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