I was recently reminded of how compassion can be a powerful force in our world. While on a field trip with my six-year-old son’s class as a chaperone, I witnessed him immediately comfort a friend when he experienced an injury. My son placed his arm around his friend’s shoulder and expressed “everything will be OK.” It was in this moment that I was confronted with a powerful, yet simple, truth; compassion can change someone’s life and help them when it’s needed most. I saw compassion in action, and it came naturally to him to quickly help his friend. In that moment, without hesitation, the response was to help.
I am an admittedly biased, and extremely proud, father. While seeing this act of compassion warmed my heart, it also reminded me of the inherent strength associated with helping and providing comfort to those that are hurting and in need. It feels we live in a time where divisiveness is more prevalent than ever, and people are so quick to judge the character of others. I know that I can become overwhelmed by the negativity that seems to spread quickly, especially on social media. But it’s in these times where we may discover that opportunities for simple acts of compassion and kindness are more prevalent than ever as well.
As HR professionals and leaders, we perform our work at the intersection of business and humanity. At its best, our work is perfectly aligned with improving the quality of life for our employees and their loved ones. This doesn’t always mean better benefits packages and arcade games in an employee lounge. Rather, the most powerful acts of service and recognition to others are based on acknowledging their humanity. We see them. We listen to them. We feel with them. Compassion is requisite in all of this.
Simple acts of caring for others cost absolutely nothing, yet the effects of caring for one another spread quickly. Whether it’s an arm around a friend’s shoulder, or simply a shoulder for someone to shed their tears upon, these moments matter. Because we all matter. And in our work, we are the people that can approach the world with open eyes and hearts to those around us, both inside and outside of the workplace. Who better to shape a better world than us?
I’m so grateful to my son for reminding me of how important these moments are, and I am constantly amazed at how often I learn and am reminded about some of life’s most powerful, and simple, lessons from a six-year-old. This moment also reminded me of how grateful I am to be in the HR field. There are few careers in the world that provide such a breadth of opportunities to help others, but we have the good fortune to do this work. HR is a field where our success is predicated on being good to people and helping people do good things.
Despite the fact that the world can feel broken, it’s comforting to know forces such as compassion still exist, and that good people can have the courage to choose something better. Real courage exists when we intentionally respond to the needs and feelings of others, and when we work to create sustainable change for the better. Sometimes that change happens one life at a time. Change may seem to take hold a bit slower than we would prefer, but I guarantee you that change meant the world to the person whose life you touched in a moment of compassion.