What is compassion?
Tommy is only two, but when his little neighbor Annie bonked her head and began to cry, he began to cry too. Then he offered her the shabby stuffed sheep he often carries around.
Compassion is that mysterious capacity within each of us that makes it possible for the suffering that is neither our own nor of our concern, to affect us as though it were. Compassion does not acknowledge the artificial social, economic, and religious barriers we place between ourselves and others. It acknowledges the common cry of human longings, aspirations, and tragedies. When a reflex reaction causes us to help a stranger, with no motivation other than that person is in need or maybe in peril of his life, our compassion is in action.
Five Quotes to contemplate discuss and share.
(To print a quote as a small poster, click on the quote, which will take you to the Wisdom Commons, then click the print button after the quote.)
Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way. –Martin Luther King Jr., civil-rights leader (1929-1968)
Bringing it home to your kids
1. Teach ‘perspective talking’ by labeling another person’s feelings for your child. Say something like, “I wonder why she did that?”or “She must be feeling really frustrated right now.” Or “I wonder what the teacher was thinking?”
2. Tell your child about something you did this week to help another person when your child wasn’t there.
3. Enlist your child in helping or comforting a smaller child or pet.
4. In an age-appropriate way and without overburdening them, put words on your own anxieties, hopes, frustrations and satisfactions, so your children can see you as a person, not just a caregiver.
5. Involve your child in compassionate action – whether helping a preschool teacher put things away or serving in a soup kitchen.