Bill and his son recently attended a talk by the Dalai Lama. It was a rare opportunity to engage in a “buddy trip” and receive some inspiration from a man who many would call one of the great spiritual leaders of the world.
Truth be told, Bill was skeptical the trip would work out given his son’s multiple responsibilities. But the trip came off without a hitch, and he’s glad it did. It provided a rare opportunity to hang out with his son and to hear words of compassion contained in the Dalai Lama’s address. These trips together, so common when his sons were younger, have grown rare as time has passed.
A city buys in
The event was really a half-day program including music, exhibits, and talks by members of the Interfaith Council of Louisville. In an introduction leading up to the appearance of the Dalai Lama, Louisville mayor, Greg Fischer, talked about the Partnership for a Compassionate Louisville and how Louisville has signed on to be a city of compassion, the largest city to do so.
A return to the Golden Rule
The event, and the impending start of school, started us thinking about the disadvantaging of some children at the hands of others—in short, bullying. There is no space for bullying within the concept of compassion. Compassion means caring for others. Compassion means making sure no one is left behind or goes wanting. It means taking the opportunity to help things go better for others – treating others with respect and dignity. It is the Golden Rule. Being compassionate calls us to alleviate the suffering of others, treat people with justice, equity and respect, and to hold back from inflicting pain or speaking ill.
Our children should be safe to participate in social and educational opportunities without fear. We need compassionate schools and communities where children are treated with respect. Have you thought about what it means to be compassionate and how the traits of compassion might be translated to your children?
Laying the groundwork for compassion
There are some things we can do to enhance the concept of compassion. We can get our children involved in caring for our environment, volunteering their time to help others, standing up for someone who is being bullied or excluded, forgiving others when they make mistakes, helping out at home by setting the table, keeping their room clean, washing the dishes, helping others who are struggling, listening to others, and showing respect.
We can start with ourselves. By beginning personally, we can serve as examples for traits of compassion in our children. This will help build the alliances at schools that can deter instances of bullying. By caring for others, our children can take some responsibility themselves for reducing those times when children are disadvantaged at the hands of others.