Our Lack of Compassion

By Nora Davis

What this world needs is a little compassion. Look at us, sitting in our high-and-mighty countries pointing missiles at each other that would destroy the entire world. We wrench money out of poor, third world nations that can’t put food on the table or kids in school, when we could be forgiving their debts to us. We fight meaningless political battles while our neglected children grow up with unanswered questions about how to live their lives and who, in some places, are overworked, beaten, starved, and dying. This may seem like a bleak and pessimistic way to look at it, but on the other hand maybe it needs to be seen. People can’t keep skimming over the surface and saying, “Yeah, there are a couple of things wrong here, but it’s not affecting me, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” because it is affecting us, and there is something we can do about it!

We could see past the differences in people, even if we don’t get along with them.

It is possible, it’s called tolerance.

We could turn our many tools of destruction away from our fellow humans, and let down some of our walls of hatred and prejudice. That is also possible, it’s called trust.

We could stop forcing poor nations to choose between paying off their debts, or feeding and educating their children. It’s not like we can’t afford it, we’ve made it this far. It is possible, that’s called forgiveness.

We could put aside our petty disagreements, no matter how important we think they and look at our children. Are they doing well in school? Are they healthy? Do they have friends? Most importantly, are they happy? Hopefully we all can realize how possible and necessary that is — it’s called love.

Let every human being stop and consider this: If we put all of these together, if everyone in the whole world tried these things for a while, would it be so bad? Would the world end? I doubt it. Maybe we should try it.

So, let’s put a little compassion in our lives, let that beautiful light begin to glow in our hearts. Forgive the next person, do someone a favor, thank someone, hug someone, or simply pass along a smile.

Nora Davis is an 11th grader at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Maine. She wrote this piece in Jan. 2000.