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Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

I pick “kind”… will you?

I work in Pickaway County, Ohio and the selection for our “One Book, One Community” campaign this year is Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I’ve seen the movie twice and now I am enjoying the book. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I encourage you to do so. This book is a touching read that highlights how people respond to and interact with others who are different from them. It may just open your eyes to what others experience in life.

Why are wonder, kindness and compassion the topics of this blog? We interface with many people every day. How we interact with others not only affects our lives and happiness but it affects others. I encourage you to look at the way you respond to people and situations and to react with kindness and compassion.

Let’s look at some definitions of the word “wonder” when it is used as a noun:

  1. From the English Oxford dictionary: A feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
  2. From the Merriam-Webster dictionary a cause of astonishment or admiration.
  3. From the Cambridge dictionary: a feeling of great surprise and admiration, or someone or something that causes such feelings.

These dictionaries define “wonder” as a positive way to view things we might see or experience in life. In the book and movie Wonder, many people viewed the character Auggie as someone very different from them. His face looked different and he was not used to interacting with kids. He faced these challenges with heart.

I encourage you to look with wonder at people and places and to share kindness with those you meet. If someone is different from you – or unfamiliar to you- embrace the interaction with fresh eyes and be open to their friendship. A simple smile goes a long way towards breaking down barriers. Take a moment, pause and treat others how you would like to be treated.

If you have seen the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, you know that this classic film highlights the life of a character named George Bailey. Throughout the movie, George is encouraged to look at the positives in his life and explore how his life touches others in his “everyday” actions. Clarence, another character in the movie, shares this thought: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Movie Marquee - It's a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life

Many people watch this movie around the holidays, but I think it is a great movie to watch anytime. It provides a gentle reminder to embrace life and look for positives, even when we are experiencing challenges.

As you pass through your life, will you pick kindness, compassion and wonder? These virtues will enrich your life. If you need tips or strategies to grow compassion, check out the article Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People from The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Additionally, the Integrative Medicine department of the OSU Wexner Medical Center offers free heart-centered mindfulness recordings to help foster kindness, compassion and gratitude. These resources, exercises and strategies may help you become a more compassionate person.

If you have a story to share, leave a comment or email me at treber.1@osu.edu.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Ohio State University Extension, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Jazaieri, H. (2018). Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_habits_of_highly_compassionate_people

OSU Wexner Medical Center, Department of Integrative Medicine. Heart-Centered Practices. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/integrative-complementary-medicine/heart-centered-practices

Palacio, R.J. Wonder. https://wonderthebook.com/books/wonder

 

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christmas-2411764_1280Recently my extended family went through a time of crisis. My own immediate family was one of many who stepped in to help. The aftermath of this crisis left many of my immediate family members exhausted and/or sick. After about 5 weeks of one type of sickness or another at my house, I remember thinking… “It doesn’t matter to me what our Christmas looks like this year, I just want my kids to be healthy.” I know that feeling of wanting things to get back to “normal.”

Yesterday at every store I encountered there was someone dealing with some sort of crisis: family illness, loved one in the hospital, recent passing of a parent, and even a pet emergency. This time of year when many people are already experiencing more stress than they can handle, an added crisis is sometimes enough to push us to the edge. Having just dealt with crisis, and knowing how much it means to be the recipient of kindness and caring, I tried my best to offer encouragement and positive thoughts with these folks who are dealing with so much.

We may never know what others around us are dealing with. Maybe that impatient person behind you in line is in crisis right now. Maybe that fast driver is trying to see his baby in NICU after a long day at work. What if that weary person next to you is undergoing cancer treatment? What if… a kind word from you can bring a smile? What can you do today to be an encourager and spread some holiday cheer?

Here are some ideas for random acts of holiday kindness:

  1. Give up your spot in line.
  2. Donate money to an organization or charity.
  3. Pay for someone else’s coffee.
  4. Send cards to those in military service
  5. Take a meal to someone who needs it.
  6. Donate food to your food bank.
  7. Donate pet supplies to a shelter.
  8. Help someone with a chore.
  9. Do yard work or shovel for a neighbor.
  10. Donate books you no longer need.
  11. Pick up litter.
  12. Leave a popcorn surprise for strangers to find.
  13. Donate toys to a children’s hospital.
  14. Donate new pajamas for children in foster care.
  15. Feed the birds.

What other ideas can your family come up with? This could be tonight’s dinner topic! When your children see you sharing kindness with others, they will likely adopt this compassionate behavior. In fact, one study showed teens who helped others felt more positive about their own lives. Families can enjoy sharing some holiday kindness together.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Reviewed by:  Jami Dellifield, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hardin County.

Source:

American Psychological Association. 2017. “What makes kids care? Teaching gentleness in a violent world.” Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/kids-care.aspx

 

 

 

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