Monday, September 12, 2011

What if Everyone Wore a Sign?

"What if everyone wore a sign that displayed their true feelings? Would you be kinder to a misbehaving child if their sign said "I'm scared"? What if someone who was rude to you at the DMV had a sign that said "My husband left me three days ago"? It seems as if two things in life are certain: 1. Everyone struggles, and 2. Everyone forgets that everyone else struggles. This must-read blog post offers a touching perspective from a woman who knows what it's like to be judged during hardship." (Courtesy of

We must see past what it seems by Brave Girls Club

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Compassion and Empathy

I saw this recently, after loosing yet another dear friend to cancer, and walking with her through her last days. It spoke to me and I hope to carry it into the school year. I believe we all need compassion from each other: not only in the "big" things like terminal illnesses, but also in the smaller daily matters.

My colleague is stressed and wanting to exert control, she deserves compassion. This small child is crying and unable to follow simple directions, he deserves compassion. This parent is allowing his anger to become personal because he feels for his son's experiences, he too, deserves compassion.

4:51 Joan Halifax defines compassion:

"compassion is comprised of the capacity to see clearly into the nature of suffering, the ability to stand strong, and recognize that I am not separate from this suffering . . .; aspire to transform suffering, engage in activities that transforms suffering; cannot be attached to outcome . . ."

6:20 It is a quality inherent within all of us
7:00 The enemies of compassion: pity, moral-outrage, fear
8:00 "Benefits" of compassion: enhanced resilience, neuro-integration, boast in immune system
9:50 takes a strong back and a soft front

Joan Halifax: Compassion and the true meaning of empathy | Video on

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Civil Discourse

Conflicts are so hard. They make my stomach churn. At a recent Caring School Community training, we learned some great prompts for difficult conversations:

"I agree with [name] because . . ."
"I disagree with [name] because . . ."
"In addition to what [name] said, . . .

Being able to talk through disagreements without anger preserves our sense of safety in relationships. Perhaps we can all give these a try.