A while back, Bill and his son attended a talk by the Dalai Lama in Louisville, Kentucky, at the arena where the University of Louisville Cardinals play basketball.
This trip had nothing to do with Bill's loyalty to the UofL basketball program, although that made the location all the sweeter. But it was a rare opportunity to engage in a “buddy trip” before his son's impending marriage the following weekend.
The trip came off without a hitch. 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 son was younger, have grown far too rare as time has passed.
A city buys in
The talk by the Dali Lama was really a half-day program including music, exhibits, and presentations by members of the Interfaith Council of Louisville.
In an introduction leading up to the appearance of the Dalai Lama, the mayor talked about the Partnership for a Compassionate Louisville and how Louisville had signed on to be a city of compassion.
A return to the Golden Rule
This event got us to thinking about a topic near and dear to our hearts – 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 others 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.
How might the traits that make compassionate people be translated to your children? It's worth thinking about.
Laying the groundwork
There are some things we can do to enhance the concept of compassion for our children. We can get them involved in caring for our environment, volunteering their time in a small way to help others, assisting those who are struggling, listening to someone, showing respect, standing up for someone who is being bullied or excluded, forgiving others when they make mistakes, helping out at home by taking care of some household responsibilities.
And we can start with ourselves.
Kids might listen to your words, but they will be more impressed by your actions. By exhibiting compassion to others, you can serve help implant traits of compassion in your children. This will help create the alliances at school that can deter instances of bullying.
By caring for others, our children can take some responsibility themselves for reducing those times when they and others are disadvantaged.