I am releasing my fourth book titled, “The Alliance House of Values and Behaviors in late January. In it, I outline what each of The Alliance’s eight core values means and how they pertain to what our company does together and for our clients all over the United States. Previously, I’ve covered Excellence, Service, Integrity, Accountability and Respect. This week, I’m going to write about Compassion.
For each of our eight values, I’m picking a person in history that I believe best represents each value that The Alliance believes in strongly.
The following is from my new book I co-wrote with Jeff Bright:
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Compassion as a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
If you are under the age of 40, there’s a good chance you don’t know who Fred Rogers was. For millions of adults in the United States, he was the model example of what is means to be compassionate as a human being. He believed that every person was important to the world and that they deserved to be loved for being exactly who they are.
A new generation of people were introduced to Fred Rogers in the 2018 documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Additionally, Tom Hanks stars as Fred Rogers in a movie about the man many of us grew up calling Mr. Rogers. His show, “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” started at a local affiliate television station in Pittsburgh and grew into a national hit on the PBS channel.
Fred Rogers introduced characters on the show that taught young people life lessons about how we should behave, interact with and, ultimately, treat people in our life. He tackled social issues at a time when it was taboo to even touch those subjects in terms of race, sexuality and social issues. Rogers was miles ahead of society when it came to being open-minded to people who were considered “different” than what was popular or normal in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
There’s a perfectly good reason why both a movie and a documentary are being made about Fred Rogers’ life. He was a good man, who believed in being good to people because it was the right thing to do, and we are living in a time when people need to hear his message of compassion over and over again. He taught children how to treat others through his TV show, and he impacted millions of young people in a way that they never forgot. He is the definition of what it means to exercise compassion.
Many people believe our nation is divided right now. There are school shootings, hate-filled newscasts and people would almost rather engage in personal attacks than to have a rational disagreement. The world can be an ugly place these days.
With that being said, I don’t think the world has to be so complicated. What if we all focused on showing more love, empathy, understanding and compassion to people on a daily basis? What if we all were better “neighbors” like the world Mr. Rogers created on his TV show?
One of Mr. Rogers’ popular songs was titled, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” What if we treated people in such a manner that they truly felt like life in their little world was more beautiful? People don’t always remember what you say to them, but they certainly remember exactly how you made them feel!
Most of what Fred Rogers did on his TV show was unorthodox in terms of best TV practices, but it worked because of the positive messages and stories he was able to tell through puppets and odd set designs in his studio. I loved the positivity he provided to children. He let them each know they were special in their own way. He encouraged them to be true to who they are and to like people for who they were inside and not for the way they looked or the possessions they owned. Mr. Rogers did not judge others.
Even though he died in 2003, people still look to Mr. Rogers as a voice of reason in an extremely noisy world. In times of crisis, Fred Rogers’ mother told him, “Always look for the helpers during times of crisis. There are always helpers. If you look for the helpers, you will know that there is hope.”
I want to be a helper for people who are in need. I want you to do the same. Mr. Rogers had a calming presence and kind demeanor. I wouldn’t mind being his neighbor, how about you?
Even when other people were criticizing Rogers as being fake or strange, he rose about the critics and continued providing a positive example for the world to see. I would like to be more like Mr. Rogers as a person. He chose exercise compassion all the time, not just when it was easy. He was consistent. Mr. Rogers was patient, kind, genuine, loving, helpful, inclusive, gentle, accepting, imaginative, curious and, most of all, compassionate.
I’m trying to practice more of the qualities that made Mr. Rogers great, specifically compassion. I’m doing my best to find the positive in situations rather than focusing or complaining about issues when they pop up. I seek solutions to problems instead of belittling people with struggles, challenges or problems. I do my best to keep my efforts focused on what is in front of me and not what is behind and in the past. In all situations, I’m working to find ways to include everybody on my team so they feel important. Nobody likes feeling left out.
If we could all be a little bit more like Mr. Rogers, our “neighborhood” would be better, and we would all be better people too. I encourage you to find ways to show more compassion toward people in your life. It will make you a better person, and people will remember how you made them feel.
That’s some of what I wrote to help illustrate Compassion in my new book. There’s a lot more to help explain what it means to be a person who operates with compassion in the book. I hope that many of you will consider picking up a copy of The Alliance House of Values & Behaviors. I believe this book will kick start an amazing start in 2019. We’ve spent months putting this book together, and I am so excited to share the final product with the world.
I encourage you to be a good neighbor when you are dealing with people. You never know what people are going through, what they’ve been through or what they are about to go through. Try to remember that and be compassionate to others.