Our opinion: Learning compassion

There is a group of students at Warren Area High School who are learning something that isn’t taught with text books. It doesn’t show up in any standardized test, nor is it on their high school transcript.

And yet, if they learn the lesson well, they will accomplish two things in life. They will learn the thrill, the sense of satisfaction and the warm glow of compassion they receive when they bestow an act of kindness on a total stranger. They will also have a foundation on which to build community citizenship.

It’s the feeling that people get when they plug a tag from one of those giving trees at Christmas time, and buy a toy or an article of clothing for a child they will never meet. Why do they do it? Because it’s the right thing to do, and it gives them a chance to imagine that child’s face when he or she opens the gift.

The Random Acts of Kindness Group at WAHS is pursuing those goals, and this community is far better for it.

Many wonder if this age of social conflict and political polarization is diminishing our capacity, and especially the capacity of young people, to think past their own wants and needs about the needs of others. It is worrisome that compassion may become passe.

Fortunately, there are instances like this student organization and others like it to reinforce our belief that we will leave this community in good hands after we have passed.