What is compassion, and why does it matter?
When we think about compassion, a lot of us might immediately think of words like empathy and kindness. And while those are definitely important parts of compassion, it goes a little bit further than that.
Compassion is all about being empathetic and kind, sure, but it’s also about taking it a step further and actually doing something to help someone who is suffering. It’s about feeling someone else’s pain and wanting to do something to ease it. The word “compassion” comes from the Latin word “compati,” which means “to suffer together.” And that’s really what it’s all about – being there for someone in a tangible way when they’re going through a tough time.
Here are some tips to help teach your kids to develop a more compassionate view of others:
Speaking kindly to others can do wonders for building connections and trust. It can make people feel more comfortable opening up to you and seeking your help. Plus, kind words can have a really calming effect, especially in times of stress. They can change someone’s perspective and bring a little light into their darkness.
The Importance of a Listening Ear
Sometimes, all someone needs is someone to talk to – someone who will listen without judging or offering unsolicited advice. By being present and giving them your full attention, you can become an active listener and show them that you’re truly there for them. This can make you a “safe place” for them to open up to.
The Helping Hand
You might not be able to change their circumstances, but lending a hand with other things that might be stressing them out can ease their burden. It could be something as simple as washing their dishes or taking care of their pet. But even if they don’t know what they need, you can still be there for them – look around and see what might be getting in the way of their peace of mind and ask if you can help.
It’s human nature to judge, but when someone is in distress, withholding judgement can give them a sense of trust and security. So, if you start to feel judgmental, try to stop yourself and detach from that judgement. Accept them for who they are and their situation for what it is. Remember, it’s not your job to change them – at least not in the middle of their crisis.
Offering a Tangible Solution
It’s important to be careful here – you don’t want to invade someone’s private space or boundaries. Always ask permission before attempting a solution, and listen carefully to what they say. If they don’t want your help, that’s okay. Just go back to the other forms of compassion we’ve talked about.
When we can accept someone for who and where they are, it becomes possible to love them – even if we haven’t before. They may be a stranger or someone we didn’t particularly care for. Or they may be someone we care deeply for and are broken-hearted for. By now, we have invested ourselves in helping them through their distress. At this point, we feel love for them. If we have offered kind words and a listening ear, if we have lent a helping hand where needed and accepted them without judging them or their situation, if we were willing to give of our time and substance, surely we can love them.
People like Prudence Crandall, who risked her life, reputation and livelihood to give young black women an education. Or Corrie ten Boom and her family, who hid people from the evil Nazi regime. These are people who truly embodied the meaning of compassion, and we can all learn from their examples. They show us that compassion isn’t just about feeling empathy and being kind, but it’s about taking action and making a difference in someone’s life. They remind us that compassion isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
Did you know that The Tuttle Twins Guide to Courageous Heroes tell’s Prudence and Corrie’s stories along with the stories of over twenty other inspiring, and brave people?
Compassion is an essential aspect of being human. It allows us to connect with others and to make a positive impact in the world. It’s about feeling someone else’s pain and wanting to do something to ease it. It’s about being there for someone in a tangible way when they’re going through a tough time.
Think of the world we can build if all parents take the time to exemplify and teach compassion in the home! It starts with you.