Character Chats

Compassion Where We Live

Compassion where we live.

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social-emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, the owner and chief instructor here at the studio, and I have two master’s degrees in education. We’ve developed this curriculum to best meet the needs of our youngest students, who are three or four, and our oldest student, who is 85.

And this week, we are talking about showing compassion in our world.

So we started off our segment on compassion defining what it is, seeing someone who’s upset, seeing someone who’s suffering, seeing someone who’s hurt and wanting to help them. And then we talked about the different people who show compassion.

And today, we’re talking about how we can show compassion to where we live, how we can take care of this space around us, right? So it’s one of those things where if we’re practicing that awareness, if we’re practicing that eyes open, looking around kind of thing, we can show compassion to the space that we live in. Well, what does that look like? Maybe it looks like recycling, maybe it looks like reducing our use of electricity or water, it looks like cleaning up our neighborhood, that kind of thing. Taking those small steps to make the world a cleaner, brighter place is showing compassion to our world.

Here at the studio, we have a saying that warriors leave no trace, and when we go off to camp, to Masters Camp, you will not find any napkin, cup, plastic silverware left on a table after we are done evening because we believe that we leave no trace. Same thing when people go hiking. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase about whatever you pack in, you pack out, so that you take what you have brought with you and you don’t leave it behind when you’re hiking through the forest or wherever you might be walking. And it’s the same idea even within our own neighborhoods, within our own homes, right? Don’t just set something on the kitchen counter. If you are showing compassion to the space that you live in, recognize that it has a place and put it there.

Reducing our waste, reducing our use of electricity, reducing our use of water, making sure that we have all those resources for us to continue to use and for future people to be able to use as well. So having those ideas of showing compassion, being the fact that we are helping as we’re learning and as we’re growing.

And part of our world includes our pets and the animals in our world, right? So if you have dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, different pets at home, I’m sure that they show love and affection in different ways and they show what they need in different ways. I have two dogs. So when one of them needs to go out, they go to the door, and if we don’t get up right away, they start barking. Now, I could be mean and not do it, but then the end result is I’m going to have a mess to clean up. Or I show some compassion, I see that they need something, and I take care of it, and on the other side of it, I get puppy kisses.

So from that standpoint, you can see where compassion is twofold. Dogs don’t talk. No, they don’t. They only bark. But they might rub up against you like a cat does, they want to be scratched behind the ears, those kinds of things, and they let you know that, “Hey, I’m appreciating that.” Dog dish is empty, I can show compassion and I can give them some food. I can take care of them along the way.

So it’s that awareness for our space, it’s that awareness for all the inhabitants within our space, whether they’re people like us, people like me walking around, being able to tell you and advocate, “Hey, I’m really bothered by this right now, and I could use some help with it,” and then we show compassion and help them through it. Or they’re the four-legged friend or the slithering kind, like snakes or reptiles. I’m not entirely sure. I’ve never had those as pets. And then we’re showing compassion and taking care of them that way.

The point is, though, is that when we’re showing compassion for the world around us, we’re not just focusing on us as people, we’re focusing on the bigger picture, what does the whole world need, what do we need to do to make sure that we are treating everybody and everything with kindness, and caring, and compassion along the way.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here. True Balance Karate is at 406 Ogden Ave Downers Grove Illinois, 60515 (next to CVS) Check out our Facebook!