Lesson Four

(Teachers, to help children understand this mission we’re having them create concentric circles of people they know on a piece of paper. Those in the inner circle are family members, the people closest to them. Those in the next circle are their friends. The next circle out are people they see regularly but don’t really know, a category we’re calling “acquaintances.” It is for these people that this week’s mission is directed. For children in school, it could be sitting next to an acquaintance at lunch or inviting an acquaintance to join a game at recess.)

Hello Ambassadors of COMPASSION!

At this point, you are generating a steady stream of renewable compassionate energy. Next, you’re going to learn to direct this internal energy to a specific category of person in your lives, starting today with someone you probably see regularly but don’t really know.

To help you get started, get a piece of paper and draw a very small picture of you in the center. Draw a circle around you and then another circle around that. Leave enough room to draw two more circles around everything. What you’ll have created are areas of people close to you. You are at the center. The next ring is your family (feel free to draw them in there, if you like). The ring after that is your friends, and the ring after that are your acquaintances.

What is an acquaintance? Someone you see regularly but don’t really know. They might be friends of friends (someone in another class or grade), or people who provide us a regular service (the custodian, the postal carrier, the garbage collector), or even certain neighbors. We don’t have a strong disliking or liking for them. We know of these people. We just don’t KNOW them. Our relationship with them is “neutral.”

This week’s mission is to choose one of your acquaintances and, as an ambassador of compassion, promote care, concern, warmth, and love with this person in mind. Once you’ve chosen someone, tell someone in your friend or family ring who you’ve chosen and why. See if you can get this person to help you plan and complete your act of compassion. Together, brainstorm what you can do. One way to complete it is to find some kind of treat this person likes and provide it for them.

In performing this act, try to recognize that our acquaintances want and deserve the same things we do, to be happy, to have good health, to be appreciated. In celebrating one acquaintance, you are celebrate all of your acquaintances. By celebrating all of our acquaintances, we celebrate everyone.

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