Compassion in Action – How a Professor’s Compassion Inspired a Student

By Paul Chapman, Professor of Humanities, Osceola Campus

At the college-wide Conversation on Compassion held at Osceola Campus on Thursday, January 19, I discovered that the commitment I made a year ago when I signed the Charter for Compassion has had a lasting impact on at least one student.

The commitment I made when I signed the charter was to incorporate its ideals – to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves – into my classes where I teach adults and near adults to read and write at a college level. On January 19,  when the conversation turned to how Valencia could become a compassionate institution and what this would look like, one of the students in our group pointed to me and said that I was already an example of compassion on our campus.

I confess to being startled because I did not remember this student. She reminded me that I had worked with her some time ago in the Writing Center. She said that I began our writing session by talking about her strengths as a writer before explaining her mistakes and teaching her how to correct them.

My encouragement, she said, inspired her to keep trying to succeed. Her eyes welled up with tears as she talked about her struggles to master English and recounted the frustration and despair she had been feeling before coming to the Writing Center.  As she spoke, my eyes also filled with tears because I had been having a difficult week and was feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. How wonderful that this Conversation on Compassion allowed her to give back the gift of encouragement when I most needed it.

The Conversation on Compassion events, hosted by the Peace and Justice Initiative, will be going on throughout the rest of the week. If you are interested in attending, please visit the Peace and Justice Initiative website, and view the schedule of events.

1 Comment

  • Elizabeth said:

    Thank you Paul for sharing such a touching experience. It shows how a simple act of compassion can really impact someone's life, and mysteriously how when we least expect it it turns around to brighten your day.

    PMTue, 30 Oct 2012 13:10:40 +0000Tue, 30 Oct 2012 13:10:40 +0000pm12,1:10 pm

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