Showing posts with label Compassion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Compassion. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

“Be Kind” – My Father’s Simple Yet Profound Philosophy

My amazing parents

“Keep a good heart. That’s the most important thing in life. It’s not how much money you make or what you can acquire. The art of it is to keep a good heart.” 
- Joni Mitchell, Canadian singer-composer (1943- )

If you’re looking for a better way to live your life, you can’t go wrong with the approach taken by the special man I’m proud to call my father.

I’ve been lucky to have my parents live close by since 1988. When my husband Lee and I were visiting them recently, the conversation turned to my dad and his unique ability to build positive relationships with everyone he meets. To my knowledge, he’s never made an enemy in his life. Just the opposite. Those who meet him are drawn to him and enjoy his company immensely.

As we were exploring why he’s so popular, my mother summarized the reason well: “It’s because he always tries to be kind to everyone.”

I immediately recognized the truth in her statement. I recalled Dad’s story about the months he spent in the hospital during World War II recovering from a near-fatal injury. He told us how he made a point of treating the nurses with compassion. Despite his own pain, he understood that their work was not easy, and he didn’t want to create more problems for them. So Dad was considerate and patient when making any requests.

Over the past 20 years, this tough 90 year-old man has been back in the hospital for surgery and other health-related issues more times than any of us would like to remember. I got to observe first-hand his consistent kindness to those who cared for him there, even though he was the one needing the attention and care.

An incident that occurred during one of those hospital stays illustrates his approach. I’d stopped by the hospital early one morning on my way to work. Dad was in quite a bit of pain because the nurse was late administering his pain medication. As soon as I discovered that, I jumped up to go look for a nurse. I’ll never forget his words before I left the room. “Now be nice when you ask them.”

Another example…

Years ago when he was in strong physical condition, Dad was a favorite among the elderly widows in the neighborhood. He was the one they turned to when they needed something done in the yard or in their house. He cheerfully fixed whatever was needed and refused to accept any payment. So he and Mom were the beneficiaries of a parade of baked goods from their kitchens.

I admire my father for developing this lifelong attitude, bringing kindness and compassion to every interaction he has. It’s an approach that’s been absorbed by his six children and their spouses as well as his grandchildren. Quite a legacy to leave, since the world desperately needs more people who pay attention to the needs and feelings of others, not just their own.

Thanks, Dad. You’re my hero.
"I will smile at friend and foe alike and make every effort to find, in him or her, a quality to praise, now that I realize the deepest yearning of human nature is the craving to be appreciated." - Og Mandino, American author (1923-1996)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Remarkable Compassion at a Basketball Game

An example of compassion is not what you’d be looking for at the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament. But in 2010, West Virginia’s Coach Bob Huggins displayed an unforgettable act of kindness towards one of his injured players.

What are some small ways you could show compassion or kindness to others today?
“Every moment that you share someone else’s pain, feel what they feel, makes you more human.” - Bill Murray, American actor

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” - Leo Buscaglia, American author

“If you think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself.” - Woodrow Wilson, American president 
“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” - James Barrie, Scottish novelist

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Epitome of Compassion in an Unlikely Place

I love college basketball, especially the ACC. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a huge fan of Duke and Coach K.

But in the Final Four game between Duke and West Virginia at the NCAA tournament Saturday night, the scene I’ll never forget involved West Virginia’s head coach Bob Huggins and his star player, Da’Sean Butler.

Butler had just collided with Duke’s Brian Zoubek, collapsing to the court and grabbing his knee. Coach Huggins immediately rushed onto the court when he saw Butler writhing in pain.

The coach knelt over his beloved player, his face just inches away, and cradled Butler’s head in his hands. We couldn’t hear their exchange, but Huggins’ own face and body language told the story.

He was trying to console this outstanding young man, distraught that he wouldn’t be able to finish the game and help bring his team out of their double-digit deficit.

Time seemed to stand still for the coach, as he focused exclusively on comforting Butler. Huggins never moved his eyes from the player’s face as he tenderly stroked his face and spoke encouraging words to him.

The bond between player and coach was palpable, and my eyes filled with tears as I witnessed this amazing display of compassion. Bob Huggins wasn’t concerned about what the people in that arena thought. In that instant his sole purpose was to help this player get through one of the most difficult moments of his young life.

We all have the opportunity to  show compassion and make that kind of difference. But we often miss these chances because our focus is on ourselves…or we simply don’t choose to make the effort.

Next time you see someone in obvious pain, think of Bob Huggins and give your undivided attention to helping that person get through the difficulty. Your act of kindness could make a difference that lasts a lifetime.