For the next couple of weeks I’ll be beginning the week with a reflection on going back to school. Many of these insights can be applied to how we adults live our lives and how we interact with others, not just insights to help our kids navigate a new school year. Today I want to reflect on the words of the Dalai Lama:
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
It can be scary and intimidating to begin a new school year, even if you’ve been at that school before much has changed with the new year. There’s new people, new schedules, new homework, new topics to study to navigate, not to mention everything that goes on outside of the classroom. Stress tends to make people frustrated, raises tempers and increases fights and disagreements, and if we’re not careful we can easily pass that stress and those feelings on to others.
If instead we as adults chose to practice compassion, consideration and patience, we’d be able to ease some of the stress that kids go through. We wouldn’t over schedule them after school so that they didn’t have time to do their homework. We’d give reasonable amounts of homework. We’d better communicate with them about anticipated questions and issues, letting them know how we can work with them when issues arise. We’d work with them when issues, mistakes and failures happen, focusing less on guilt and more on doing better next time.
If compassion is a road that leads to happiness, it would serve everyone well to work on choosing compassion over other emotions when we’re faced with challenges and changes.