Seeds of Compassion, Roots of Empathy and Flowers of Acceptance

Today marks 2 months of my blogging. For two months I have being doing everything I can to raise my voice, share my personal experiences and well just bring awareness to Autism. In my kids’ school I have become somewhat of a pest. My persistence has finally paid off and on May 15th our school will have a Diversity Fair that I am planning.

Of course this type of event did not merit a special day to its self (YET). It has been tagged onto an already existing event, Beautification Day. On this day students and their families come to school with spades and shovels in hand, sleeves rolled up and ready to get dirty. Literally. I needed to figure out a way to incorporate my idea, a day where so-called typical kids become aware or the challenges of the so-called special kids, into this event. Then it came to me.

The words from His Holiness the Dalia Lama himself came rushing at me. “In order to have true happiness in this world, a happy future where people get a long, we must plant hope, seeds of compassion into our children.”

On May 15th I will set up a special table where children will be able to plant a seed in a small cup to take home. The children will plant Seeds of Compassion, which will grow Roots of Empathy and bloom Flowers of Acceptance. They will be giving a paper which will have the following written on it:

Compassion is…
~ caring about others.
~ feeling the same feelings or emotions as someone without it actually happening to you.
~ understanding.
~ being there when your friends need you.

Tolerance is…
~ respecting differences
~ recognizing that everyone has gifts and are unique and special.
~ not judging people.
~ not being critical.
~ forgiving each other.

Acceptance is…
~accepting people the way they are.
~not wanting them to change.
~looking at people’s hearts not at how they look or how they act (their inside not the outside)
~accepting that no one is perfect.

The children and their parents will then be invited to visit tables that will be set up. Each table will be manned by parents who have a child that faces some type of challenge that children who attend or have attended our school face. On their tables they will have information on this challenge and/or cause. I will have a table for Autism. There will be a sign up sheet to join a school team for the Autism Speaks Walk. What else do you think I should have on my table? Please leave a comment with your ideas.

April and Autism Awareness Month may be over but for my family and so many others, our awareness of Autism is a daily thing. If having a table, planting a seed or anything else can possibly make other parents and their children aware, start some conversations, plant some hope and compassion… well then I guess I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get a little dirty.

8 thoughts on “Seeds of Compassion, Roots of Empathy and Flowers of Acceptance

  1. Anita did Autism as her project last year, she has a poster you can have.
    There is a camp for special kids called Soaring of Seven (it is in Tyson’s) each July. They deal with ALL needs this is the only camp Duncan has ever been asked to come back to and he loves it.

  2. i don’t often give a flowering or rosy compliement
    or praise your blog, yet i am extremely proud of all you are doing, making others think,pause and consider things, making their eye’s open and most of all having them share and have feelings, this is what you are doing and i am peoud of you as a blogger, as a writer and most of all as a daughter of mine. love ya dad

  3. Hi…I think I’ve only commented once before, but I love your blog. It’s funny, sweet , touching, and a good read. And, I imagine, it’s both cathartic and motivating for you. Keep up the good work.

    The school might veto it as not really being about diversity, but maybe a table or something else added to yours about Compassion, Tolerance and Acceptance ==> Stop Bullying could be a good thing. The Today Show this morning highlighted the sentencing of some teenage kids who were unrelentingly cruel to a classmate. The girl committed suicide. My heart went out not only to her parents–her mother still is inconsolable–but to the parents of the bullies, and even to those kids themselves. True, possibly some of them turned out that way at least partly because of their parents’ examples; but sometimes people’s cruelty to one another can’t be explained away by their upbringing or home life. People make choices; and people choose badly because they have never been shown something positive, but also sometimes because they haven’t been told or shown anything at all. So–in this and other cases–for those parents who thought they were doing the right thing, and raising good kids to be fine, tolerant adults–or simply didn’t think they needed to address this topic head-on as a form of prevention (many people are trying to blame the school now)…how painful must it be for them to have their children turn out to have been part of the cause of someone else’s abject misery and suicide? And if those kids have consciences, how will they continue to live in the community and with themselves?

    So, anyway–I think in addition to raising awareness about autism, the approach and words you’ve outlined above could open some eyes at a young age and hopefully, teach kids that groupthink and bullying are not an appropriate or kind response to someone who’s different; rather, compassion, tolerance, and acceptance are. (Too bad it can’t be a CAT acronym to aid people in remembering it…but I do agree the tolerance comes before acceptance…)

    Good luck on May 15!

    P.S. To tie it into the “Beautification” theme to the school’s satisfaction…maybe your table or the diversity portion of the fair could be subtitled “Beautifying Our World Individually, From Within.” That’s what you are demonstrating! 🙂

  4. May I suggest a further resources to learn more about empathy and compassion.
    The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
    The Culture of Empathy website is the largest internet portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews,  videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.

    Let’s Find 1 Million People Who Want to Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion

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