Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

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Teaching Compassion

Teaching Compassion

Teaching Compassion

This year, the Ethics Center has focused on the theme of compassion, looking at issues from caregiving to cultivating compassion in children.  This week, our Character Education Program explores the theme in its Build.Plant.Grow curriculum, a faith formation program for use in Catholic schools and parishes. 

Tied to the Lectionary, the cycle of readings used in the Catholic Church each week, Build.Plant.Grow focuses this week on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, where the Gospel

gives us one of the most vivid and familiar images of compassion: the Good Shepherd. Jesus declares that he is the Good Shepherd, the one who has such compassion and love for his people that he is willing to lay down his life for them. In this passage, we see Jesus extending his flock to include those beyond the fold of Israel. Thus, we see through Jesus the compassion that God wants for all of humanity. Throughout Saint John’s Gospel, we hear many “I am” statements, and in this particular passage, we could translate "I am the good shepherd" to "I am compassion."  

The theme is teased out in the children's book, How to Heal a Broken Wing, and a variety of activities guide children in exercising the virtue of compassion in their own lives.


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