Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Alternate Activity 3: Compassion as a Spiritual Practice

Part of Virtue Ethics

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Copy the handout for all participants.

Description of Activity

Youth explore making compassion a spiritual practice.

Ask the group to define "spiritual practice." Affirm that a spiritual practice is any activity done regularly to nurture one's spirituality. Brainstorm different spiritual practices: prayer, meditation, reading, nature walks, yoga, etc. Ask:

  • Can acting compassionately can be a spiritual practice? If so, how will you remember to engage in it regularly?

Suggest that one way is to pray or meditate on compassion not just once, but on a regular, scheduled basis. Lead the group to read the Prayer for Compassion (Handout 1) aloud together.

Tell the group that Buddhism includes meditations for "loving-kindness," which is equivalent to compassion. In Taoism, the Three Jewels of Taoism are compassion, humility, and moderation.

Distribute writing materials. Invite participants to create poems, meditations, or prayers to help them remember to practice compassion. Remind them that their anklet is also a reminder to live their highest values.

If you wish, leave time for volunteers to share.