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   WZM Award for Compassion 


Ruth Handy  presenting WZM  Award for Compassion


WZM Award # 16 Presented on June 8, 2009 to Christian Frederiksen - Frazier Mountain High School.






Restoring Compassion in Today's Society
by Christian Frederiksen

We often see people in times of distress and many disregards the way they feel. Those who do notice often show pity, or altruism, but not always compassion. These are the responses we engender that can make all the difference from a day of misfortune to a day of gracefulness.

Compassion is not pity and different from altruism, which is simply the act of heloping others. Compassion is an incredibly unique human ability that is often associated with religion and spirituality. The dictionary's definition of compassion in "Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it." Compassion, then, does not require sorrow, but simply being present under any circumstance with the heart to help. Compassion eliminates judgment and views each circumstance as an equal opportunity to live the moment to its fullest potential.

The most commonly known version of the Golden Rule is often expressed as "Do onto others as you would wish them do onto you," was spawned from the practices of compassion in most religions and ranked highly in many philosophies as the greatest virtues. However, many of today's youth are growing up without learning compassion, not only for others, but themselves as well.

In today's society, there is a greater need to teach compassion to children for several reasons. Today's competitive environments have taught many of us to live in a dog-eat-dog world, not only in our daily careers, but also in today's academics and children's sports. Furthermore, today's children are more exposed to violence from television and video games than in the past. According to a study from 1990, NCTV (Northland Cable Television) found that nearly seventy-five percent of children who were exposed to violent video games had negative effects. Psychologist Craig A. Anderson, PH.D. had said "...the study that even a brief exposure to violent video games can temporarily increase aggressive behavior in all types of participants."

Unfortunately, today we live in a society of self absorption and narcissism mixed with violence and where compassion is seldom taught as fundamental basis of a successful life. However, compassion is an ability, that if taught to children from an early stage, can make them become aware of the world around them and teaches tolerance towards a variety of cultures and personalities. This would enable children to become more sensitive and caring for others, which in turn will motivate better relationships with others as they mature into adulthood. The Dalai Lama once stated "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive."

Compassion is a spiritual quality that is often written about, but rarely found in others, because to have compassion one must have full acceptance of each circumstane in life. Those who have compassion are usually the ones who have struggled and met and known a large part of humanity that they can no longer judge nor reject.

Compassion is not bound by rules becuase it recognizes the uniqueness of every circumstance. In an attempt to restore compassion in today's society, one must start living by the Golden Rule, from the beginning of the miracle of giving birth to the silence of death.


Ruth Ratna Handy, LCSW
(661) 242-6956


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