For many of my family and friends, and others as well, the holiday season is a time for giving. We all like to donate our time or money to various causes like Toys for Tots, Angel Tree, and the Soup Kitchen to name a few. I have noticed however, that when the holidays come and go many of us don’t pay as much attention to the less fortunate. I know that it is so hard to be compassionate all of the time. We are all so busy and stressed that we sometimes overlook those right in front of us who really need our help.

I decided to do a little research about what compassion really is. What I found is that if you are compassionate you feel other’s pain and struggles as though they are your own. If someone shows kindness, caring, and a willingness to help others, they’re showing compassion.

I didn’t realize it, but when I was very young I was already very compassionate. I always felt so sorry for people that I saw walking on the side of the road, or eating alone, or for the elderly. I saw a person in the Wal-Mart parking lot the other day who appeared to be homeless and was holding a sign that said “Will work for food.” This just broke my heart. My mom told me that you have to be very careful about helping these people because you have to be concerned for your own safety, they may be using the money for drugs, etc. It is so sad that you feel that you can’t trust everyone. Unfortunately, this is so true. When we are very young we are innocent and trust everyone. However, as we grow older, this innocence leaves. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We have to learn how to say no and avoid potential danger but let’s try not to lose our compassion for helping others. It shouldn’t be just during the holidays but should be a part of our everyday life.

As teenagers, here are some ways we can incorporate being compassionate in our lives:

1. Volunteer – Make time to volunteer in your community. This will allow you to engage with people from a completely different social circle, learn time management, discover the importance of commitment, and can even lead to letters of reference when applying to college or places of employment.

2. Donate – Use some of what you earn to help others. If you don’t have money to donate, consider donating items or clothing that you are no longer using.

3. Thank a veteran for their service. I have lots of veterans in my family and it means so much to them to know that others appreciate their sacrifices. They always tell me they don’t serve to be recognized, but I know it means a lot to them when people take the time to say “Thank You”.

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible.” – Audrey Hepburn

Jules Fletcher
Miss Teen International 2015


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