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

Taking It Home: Compassion

Part of Virtue Ethics

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion. — Simone de Beauvoir

IN TODAY'S WORKSHOP... we talked about the virtue of compassion and ways to make compassion a spiritual practice.

More Stories about Compassion. Read "Making It Through," a story in UU World, by Unitarian Universalist minister and author Meg Barnhouse, about finding compassion in unique places.

Read Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong (New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2010). Your public library may have a copy. Write down the steps Armstrong suggests. Choose some of the concrete actions she mentions that might help you become a more compassionate person.

Nickelodeon television's Halo Awards honor youth making a difference in the world. On the website, you can nominate youth or watch videos of past winners.

Compassion does not sound like a very controversial topic, does it? Yet there are hot issues. Animal rights is one. Another is assisted suicide. Some people believe terminally ill patients should be able to decide for themselves when to end their lives. They want them to have a humane choice, such as medically assisted suicide, that would assure a painless death. The 2009 movie You Don't Know Jack (directed by Barry Levinson) is about the true-life, radical crusade of Dr. Jack Kevorkian for this cause.

Prodigal Son. Horror writer Dean Koontz wrote a novel in 2009 titled Frankenstein: Prodigal Son. It is a retelling of the Mary Shelley classic, Frankenstein. Read either novel; they are about much more than the Frankenstein movies. How is Shelley's tale like the story of the prodigal son? Mary Shelley's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft attended a Unitarian congregation for a portion of her life and was a radical activist for women's rights, long before the suffragette movement.

Compassionate Games. There are many video games for those who like violence, but not many for people who embrace compassion and giving service to the world. One such game is Quest Atlantis. Play with your friends.

Show your friends the website for Charter for Compassion. Invite them to affirm the charter and post commitments. Make it a game by asking each other, every Monday, how they lived out their commitment. Reward each other for sweet behavior with sweet treats. You can play the game with your family, too.