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

Faith In Action: Everyday Compassion

Part of Virtue Ethics

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Activity 4, Compassion and Religion
  • Computer with Internet access, and (optional) a digital projector or large monitor
  • Leader Resource 2, Charter for Compassion
  • Optional: A copy of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong (New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2010)

Preparation for Activity

  • Read Activity 4, Compassion and Religion; this Faith in Action activity is designed as an extension of Activity 4.
  • Test Internet access equipment. Locate and preview the websites you wish to show the youth. Possibilities include:
  • Optional: Read the book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, and prepare to discuss it with the youth briefly and invite them to follow one or more of the steps.

Description of Activity

This activity picks up where Activity 4, Compassion and Religion leaves off. Youth further explore and then (optional) participate in the Charter for Compassion online project.

Watch the video where Karen Armstrong first introduced the concept of the Charter of Compassion on the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) website.

Visit the Charter for Compassion's website. Read some of the stories. Note that not all describe major events; many share small kindnesses, everyday acts of compassion the youth might find opportunities to emulate. Do participants have stories to share? Help youth post their stories.

Read some of the commitments on the website. Again, these are small, individual acts. Encourage youth to make specific commitments. Perhaps they pledge to act more compassionately to their siblings, spend more time playing with or walking a pet, or sit at lunch with a youth who always sits alone. Invite participants to post their commitments on the website. Ask how they will hold themselves accountable for keeping their commitments. Perhaps a reminder could be posted on the wall of your meeting space. You do not need to list the specific commitments. It could simply say, "Were you compassionate today?"