It’s time to show more compassion

Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds ANL-151025-114649001
Comment by students at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds ANL-151025-114649001
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What have you brought into 2017? I’m not talking about possessions.

Recent newspaper headlines have been screaming that 2016 was a year to forget. There was so much political unrest, unexpected election results like Brexit in the UK and the US President-in-waiting is Donald Trump, as well as the sad deaths of many celebrities.

A new year gives us time to reflect. One of my favourite commercials over Christmas was for Amazon. In it, two religious leaders from different faiths surprised each other with exactly the same gift, something they both really wanted and needed, even if they hadn’t realised it for themselves. They each received something which improved the quality of their life and put a smile on their face. They were able to see the need of the other, and met this need with a simple, thoughtful act of generosity. Also they found out that even though they have differences, they also both have similarities. Maybe we need to see this more often in our day to day lives.

From watching, I took away the importance of communication, often just a simple conversation over a cup of tea, as demonstrated in the advert. It also showed me that often, it’s best to put the needs of others first and you may never know where it might lead.

In the coming year perhaps we can all put these lessons into practice, wherever we are. Of course there are some huge problems in the world, such as the devastating situation in Aleppo. Sometimes all I can do is look at the images and shake my head in despair. I can’t do anything about it. As an individual, It’s too big for me.

But we can all do something about our immediate situations and for the people around us. Something as simple as spending two minutes talking to a neighbour, rather than rushing away, can have a big impact on the other person. Maybe we need to use straightforward manners and hold a door open for someone or let someone into a queue. Perhaps all it needs is a simple smile and a “hello”.

We may not often take the time for any of these simple gestures, being too caught up in our own lives, both in real life and online, but we all know how good it makes us feel when someone acknowledges us, so why don’t we try to pass that feeling on to others.

I’m not ignoring major world problems. I continue to hope that politicians and governments will be able to work them out. Perhaps if they follow the example of the advert and take time to talk and listen to each other and put the needs of others first, they can do this.

How can we make 2017 better than 2016? In this coming year we need to take time to be more like the advert, taking time to see the needs of others, and showing more compassion to those around us day to day.

-- Hannah Moore is a student at King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds