Compassion - Play it Forward


Partner Showcase #3 - Michelle Higgins

If compassionate police officers deserve purple hearts – what do trauma informed teachers deserve?

A few weeks ago I posted an article titled Purple Hearts, Compassion and De-traumatizing. That article acknowledged Sergeant Braman for his heroic courage to exercise compassion in an often brutal world of law enforcement. There is no substitute for educating professionals who yield the power to transform our world into a safe place through compassion.

Everyone deserves a place where they can feel safe, let’s put our attention where we can provide the greatest value.  One teacher, with a team of supportive school staff can provide 23 students (national average public school classroom size) a safe environment for five days every week. Multiply that by three million school teachers in our nation and we are now looking at a huge potential to shift our world into one powerful loving and compassionate place. Someone please let me know if that doesn’t make teachers our most valuable asset.

Some people deserve purple hearts and others are making purple hearts by the dozen. Michelle Higgins is a high school teacher in the Walla Walla school district, one of her passions revolves around safety and security for her students and the lives of those they touch. Michelle worked with 2300 students in the past few years learning how to reach students whose lives are adversely affected by parents who suffer from mental illness or other challenges.

Michelle’s mission is to “help students before it is too late and the school year is over” and her influence over that student is gone. She structures her classroom with tools, knowledge and practice that creates an environment where students care for each other. She teaches her students statistics about the devastating effects of ACEs. Students learn how ACEs lead to risky behaviors, diseases and ealry death. They learn about abuse and neglect shaping people’s lives and they talk about how to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. They talk about a future when they, as parents, can use these tools to help their own children to grow up in a stronger, more stable household with less abuse and neglect.

Michelle reports that her students become more compassionate and want to know how they can learn more so they can help others. I have heard that fear breeds more fear. If that is true then compassion breeds more compassion. CRI has a new Game Kit that is designed to cultivate compassion by building resilience strategies. Let’s spend more time in compassion and play it forward. Thank you to Michelle and those teachers who are incorporating ACE awareness and resilience building in their classrooms.


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