Kids: You can change the world one step at a time with COMPASSION

Kids, you have the power to change the world one step at a time. But there is more that you can do besides being kind. You can be compassionate. Compassion and kindness go hand in hand, and together they are a powerful force that can help you start to make a difference. What is compassion?

Compassion is caring for others. Similar words for compassion are love, tenderness, mercy, and sympathy. You have probably heard your parents, your teachers, your ministers, and even news commentators use one of these words in their daily conversations. However, compassion has a deeper meaning than love, tenderness, mercy, or even sympathy. It goes beyond just feeling sorry for what someone else is going through. 

For instance, when you see a friend fall down on the playground and skin his knee, you first instinct is to say, "Ouch! That hurts." 

That's a sign of sympathy for what happened. Now, if you are compassionate, seeing your friend not only makes you feel bad, but it makes you rush to help him up off the ground, dust him off, and offer your support. In other words, you just didn't say, "Hey, Travis. I feel your pain." You actually made an effort to show him that you felt his pain. You acted on "feeling" his pain.  

Some people believe that compassion is learned. Others believe that it is part of our makeup from the day we are born. I believe the latter, but I also believe that if "you don't use it, you lose it." So how can you practice compassion? Here are three ways every one of you can demonstrate compassion. And remember, it doesn't take just one practice session before you can slam dunk a basketball. It takes many practice sessions. So try one of the ways listed, then practice, practice, practice. It will help you change the world one step at a time.

  1. Stand up against bullies. When you see someone being picked on, don't look the other way. Show compassion for the victim by stopping it, or finding someone who can. Then speak out against bullying and help others speak out too.
  2. Encourage others. When you see someone is having a hard time kicking the ball, speaking in class, learning cursive, doing their math, or anything else, offer them your support. Let them know that you think they can do it, and help them if you can. This will build their confidence and just might make the difference between giving up or succeeding.
  3. Volunteer. This means giving your time to help. It could be as simple as helping younger siblings with their reading, or packing boxes for the food bank. Giving your time to help someone else because you want to shows and builds compassion.

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