“Our human compassion binds us to one another – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.” – Nelson Mandela
Compassion arises through kindness and empathy and is characterized by actions. The simple act of showing compassion can make a world of difference to someone’s day. Recently I heard a story that stuck with me and really resonated about the great impact that a seemingly small act of compassion by one can have on another.
A young father of two works very hard to provide for his family while his girlfriend goes to school full-time. Their goal? She will finish school and then he will go to college and get a degree in marketing and work for the company who owns the convenience store where he’s an assistant manager.
They are making it work for now. They are happy — but sometimes they have to do without things they could really use, like a mechanic when the car breaks down. He recently replaced the starter in his old car by watching YouTube videos. And then the radiator decided to go.
This young couple has generous hearts and the mom has been actively giving away things their young son could no longer use like infant toys, clothing, and bottles on a “Pay It Forward” type Facebook group. She also gave away formula he was allergic to and diapers that no longer fit. She didn’t want anything to go to waste if someone else could make use of it.
When her boyfriend, the father of her young son, was faced with a lengthy car repair guided by YouTube videos on his one day off for the week – she turned to this Facebook group, on the off chance there might be someone who knew someone with this type of experience. And, while this wasn’t normally the type of thing that was posted in their group, someone replied.
Another young father, a 23-year old father of three children in fact offered to help. He knew how to replace a radiator and offered to drive to where the couple lived and help replace it. It turns out this father works two jobs and drove over to the couple’s home at midnight after his shift ended to do the work. When he arrived, the mom recognized him as someone she had given her son’s old Dr. Brown’s bottles and a jumpy infant toy to in the past.
This is one example of what a seemingly small act of compassion meant to both of these young families.
- You don’t need to wait for a crisis to practice compassion, try smiling at a stranger or holding a door open today.
- Look at your skill set, what is something you can do for an hour, a day — that might help another?
- Clean out your closet and donate the items you no longer need to a local charity like The Shop at WCA or The Closet.
The Compassion Project: Let us be the ones who transform our world by allowing compassion to lead our action. Throughout the year, this column will feature the various ways to have compassion for others, for our specific organization, and for yourself.
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