Compassionate Communication

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Compassionate Communication

Annalee R. Ward, Ph.D.
University of Dubuque

Annalee Ward, Professor of Communication, currently serves as the Director of the Wendt Character Initiative at the University of Dubuque.  This Initiative promotes excellent moral character and lives of purpose. Passionate about interweaving faith, life, and learning, Annalee is grateful for the work of the Christianity and Communication Studies Network whose work illustrates these interests.

[Note: A version of this article was previously published in a campus newsletter].

Photos by Annalee R. Ward

The persistent power of water to erode barriers of seemingly impermeable rock amazes me. Captivated by unusual formations, I can’t help but be amazed. Canyons and caves, arches and hoodoos—all touched and formed by water. Utah’s National Parks are a wonder!

Nature speaks in powerful ways, but so do human virtues. Consider compassion. Now, I realize comparing compassion to the force of water is a flawed metaphor.  But consider this comparison. Anger, pride, greed, and self-centeredness build walls. Compassion erodes walls. Compassion seeps through hardened pores and cracks, leaving its mark of care and revealing beauty.

Imagine how our world might look if more of us aspired to live with boundless compassion. When we seek to look beyond our circle of comfort and let the compassion flow through both our words and actions, differences between human beings break down.  The need to be right diminishes in the face of connectedness. Breaking down barriers with a compassion that knows no boundaries opens the world to beauty–communicates a hope on which we can build not walls but connections, we can build lives.

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