Finding Our Humanity Through Kindness and Compassion

crowd at a large outdoor event holding up their open hands

My daughter is a freshman at Pennsylvania State University. (Penn State for those of us who are paying the bills.) My girl is having one heck of a time at her school. She loves her sorority, her dorm floor, and the beauty that comes with being on her own and having someone else pay most of her expenses. In February, she participated in an event that she was so looking forward to since starting college.

Penn State puts on a completely student-run, all weekend dance event to raise money for childhood cancer. The event is called Thon. It’s one of the most popular events that the school supports with participation from a vast majority of the students. The dancers and all attendees stand or dance for forty-six hours straight. My girl attended most of the weekend. Besides swollen ankles and a bit of sleep deprivation, she did quite well.

Afterwards, I asked her about her favorite aspects of the event. She loved seeing the kids and their families, as well as the dancers and all of the activities that kept the students engaged for the weekend. Yet the most interesting thing that my daughter mentioned was how she suddenly saw so many of the students in a different light. Some of the boys, who she thought were arrogant frat boys, became co-participants in an event filled with love, tears, and compassion. Suddenly they weren’t so arrogant, but rather, kindred spirits. My girl noticed that the sometimes-clicky sorority girls were also part of a greater good. They were suddenly less intimidating and more human than previously believed.

Kindness & #compassion always bring people together. Helping others is a unifier. #kindness #unity Click To Tweet

Also, my daughter noticed that there was no political division, no name-calling, no bullying, and no separation by any labels. All of the people in that stadium on that weekend were one. One for a greater good and for the good of the kids who were suffering at the hands of cancer. Why is it that so many people could come together on that weekend, but so rarely for other reasons? Is the answer in looking outside of ourselves in order to look for the greater good? I think that’s a big part of it. Kindness and compassion will always bring people together. Helping others in any way that we can is a unifier.

I’m so grateful that my daughter was able to give back in such a beautiful way. I’m so thrilled that she was able to see beyond the traditional divides that typically separate us from each other and our own humanity. Even if it was just for forty-six hours, it is my hope that having her see how people can come together will motivate her to find more of it throughout her life. It’s easy to see each other’s differences, but so much better when we see how alike we really are.


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.


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