Character Chats

How do we show compassion for somebody that’s scared or in need of help?

Our social-emotional learning program at True Balance Karate is called True Character and our true character word of the month is compassion.

Compassion means that when you feel bad, sad, or mad, I want to help you to feel better.

We talked last week about our empathy; how we can understand when somebody is feeling sad or mad or what the emotions they’re feeling. Empathy is being able to walk in somebody else’s shoes, being able to understand and feel what they feel.

Last week we discussed how we can use our empathy by looking at their face, looking at their body language and how they carry themselves to understand how they feel.

We also said compassion isn’t just empathy. It’s not just understanding how somebody feels. It’s doing something about it too.

So let’s go through some different situations and talk about how we can help them out.

When somebody is sad

If somebody is feeling sad, what are some of the things we can do to help you feel better? We can give them a hug. We can cheer them up by saying something nice. We can maybe just listen to them. Sometimes somebody is sad because they want somebody to talk to them.

What we’re not going to do if somebody is feeling sad is nothing. We’re going to show our compassion when somebody is feeling sad and do something. Sometimes it’s a matter of just being there with them and letting them know that somebody cares about them.

When somebody is mad

What about when somebody’s mad? What can we do to show our compassion when somebody’s mad?

First advice I’ve learned is not to tell them that they shouldn’t be mad. We all get mad for a reason. We have that emotion for a reason. Maybe it even was something silly and we shouldn’t be mad about it, but you know what? We are mad about it.

So one way to show compassion when somebody is mad is acknowledge that they’re feeling that way. “Oh, I totally understand that you’re mad about that.” Give an opportunity to talk about it, to walk through it. Sometimes all of us just need that opportunity to kind of let it out and then we can have that nice conversation about what really happened with it.

When somebody is scared

What about if somebody is scared? What can we do?

We can show our compassion if somebody is scared by, again, being there for them — helping them walk through their fears.

Maybe getting him to talk about it. Say they’re scared of storms. “What is it that scares you about storms?” Okay.

“Are we safe in here? Do we have a strong roof?” All right.

“Are we going to get hurt by it here? What else can you tell me about it?”

Show some compassion.

First, recognize they feel that way and they feel that way for a good reason. Then, help them, either by listening or walking through it.

When somebody is sick

How about if they’re sick? If somebody’s sick, how do we show compassion?

If somebody’s sick, do we just ignore them and say, “Talk to me when you feel better”?

Why don’t we do something to help them out? Maybe if somebody is sick, you can go on Zoom, chat with them, do a FaceTime.

Maybe we’re not able to be with them when they’re sick because we don’t want to spread the germs, but it’s not 50 years ago. You can hop on your phone and say something to them. “Hey, I was thinking about ya. Hope you’re feeling better soon.”

If somebody in your house is sick, you can do things for them. Let’s say, mom and dad are sick. Well, guess what? You can make your own lunch. How about we let mom and dad sleep. They’re not feeling well. You can take care of a younger brother or sister. You can help them out.

Let’s say a pet is sick. A lot of times they just need to be comforted. My dogs get sick and they want to be petted. They want to be told it’s okay. They actually get a little upset that they got sick on the floor. They know they’re not supposed to leave messes on the floor in the house, so we kind of let them know it’s okay. We’re there for them. We show the compassion. We pet them. We tell them it’s all good.

People who are in need

Now we also can show our compassion for people in need. If you didn’t have clothes your size and you couldn’t afford them, how would you feel? Feel pretty sad. Feel pretty left out. So we use our empathy and understand that that would feel pretty bad if you couldn’t afford to get new clothes.

So what’s our action? What can we do? We can donate our old clothes. We can help people out in need. We can donate to charity. We can help people out that are in that position.

People in the hospital

What if you were sick or hurt and are in the hospital? How do you think you would feel? Pretty lonely, huh? Especially in the hospital.

Well, what could we do?

Maybe someday we can volunteer to be in the hospital again. Maybe we can send a video to somebody that’s in a hospital.

If you have a family member that winds up in the hospital, take a video of you playing your instrument, or of you saying, “Hi.”

FaceTime with them again. Do something to help them to feel better.

People experiencing hunger

What about people who don’t have enough to eat?

Using your empathy, how do you think you would feel if you didn’t have enough to eat? Well, yeah, you’d feel hungry. You’d also feel kind of sad. Maybe a little left out.

So what can we do? What action can we take?

We can donate food to a pantry. We can offer to help in a soup kitchen. We can do fundraisers to help out people and to help out our local food banks.

So there’s a lot of compassion that we can take. Remember, compassion isn’t just showing empathy. It’s not just understanding and feeling bad. It’s doing something about it too.

Thanks and we’ll see everybody on the mat.
–Master Helsdon