Compassion and Kindness
People perform acts of kindness and compassion all the time and, more times than not, these acts go unnoticed by those not directly involved in the act itself. The benefits of these acts are not only for those on the receiving end of these actions, but for the individual performing it too.
This lesson plan for high school students looks at an article about kind and compassionate actions that, while unnoticed by many, defined 'compassion in action' for a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho. Through discussion and light reading, students will learn about kindness and compassion.
- Students will define and practice compassion and kindness.
- Random Acts of Kindness
- Compassion in Action by Kaye Thompson (RPCV Lesotho).
- The Most Enduring Impact by Charlie Rounds (RPCV Cameroon, 1978-1981).
- Sharing in Africa by Mike Tidwell (RPCV)
- Differences by Brianna Besch (RPCV Ethiopia, 2014-2016).
- Declaration (of a Kgomotso Girl) by Katie Pepiot (RPCV South Africa, 2007-2009).
- Using the following quotation from the Dalai Lama, ask students what they believe it means and have them discuss why: "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
- Make sure students know where Lesotho is on a map.
- Then have students read Compassion in Action.
- As a class, discuss what Kaye provided as three examples of compassion in action shown by the people of Lesotho. Ask why she finds them "breathtaking."
- Challenge students to come up with ways they can practice compassion and kindness. Have them read the other articles to help them develop ideas.
Framework and Standards
- Kind and compassionate acts can not only bring the receiver of those acts happiness, but can provide the one carrying out that act with happiness as well.
- What is kindness?
- What is compassion?
- What roles do kindness and compassion play in happiness?