During this Christmas season we are reminded of the importance of showing compassion for others. I have heard stories of the person in the Starbucks drive-thru paying for the order of the person in line behind them. I’ve heard about anonymous people paying off Christmas presents that families had in layaway at department stores and I’ve seen my own family doing things to show compassion for others. All of these acts of compassion had an affect not just on those who were directly involved, but on everyone that heard of the kindness shown by one person to another.
As a mother, I want to instill in my own children the importance of thinking of others and showing compassion. The best way to teach them is by example. As a child, our family would go out the week or two before Christmas and cut mistletoe down from the trees here in Oklahoma. We would take the mistletoe home and separate it into smaller bags and then go door-to-door in our neighborhood, selling it for $1.00/bag. After we sold all of the mistletoe, we would bring the money home to see how much we collected and then take it to the Jesus House in Oklahoma City and donate all of it to help families who were less fortunate. As a child, it’s hard to understand that some children don’t have what you have. I remember walking through the Jesus House and seeing children who looked like they hadn’t taken a bath in a while and their clothes were worn or too small. It left an impression on me that I still vividly remember as an adult and it made me realize how blessed I was to have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, food to eat.. etc. Many families are having a difficult time financially this Christmas, but even so, we all have so much more to be thankful for than we probably realize and need to have compassion for those who are struggling.
Compassion is something you should have at all times and in all places. It’s not just something you show for your family and friends, or to random people you come in contact with. It’s also very important to show compassion for those you work with. Your boss, your coworkers, your customers… I’ve heard the phrase (and even said it myself) “business is business”, but I absolutely believe you can run a successful business and still show compassion for those around you.
I’m sure most people have heard the verse “Give and you shall receive.” Have you ever given something to someone and then realized how happy it made you to do something nice for someone else? Showing compassion for others is a blessing to you as well, but not just in the feeling you get from helping someone. In business, if you show compassion to those you work with, you will gain the respect of your coworkers. If you show compassion for your customers, they will remember you and probably refer a friend or associate to you. Showing compassion will also help you stand out among your competitors – customers and clients tend to want a company who is sincere in their efforts to help them. Compassion is not a substitute for good business practices and a quality product or skill, but it compliments those aspects of your business and will make you stand out above your competitors and give you the peace of mind, knowing you’re doing what’s right and setting a good example for others to follow.
Arthur H. Stainback once said “The value of compassion cannot be over-emphasized. Anyone can criticize. It takes a true believer to be compassionate. No greater burden can be borne by an individual than to know no one cares or understands.” Remember to be compassionate for others in all aspects of your life – you never know, you may be the one who depends on the compassion of others some day..