2015 – 5th Grade National 2nd Place Winner

Erin Maslowski, Minnesota.

Violence or Compassion: Which has a greater impact on society? While we hear about violence all the time on the news, we don’t get shot at everyday. I don’t remember a day, however, that at least one person did not smile at me. Whether it’s to a stranger or a family member, compassionate acts make us feel good. Punching someone might feel good at the time, but later we regret it. Compassionate acts inspire us, they spread easily, and most importantly they change the world everyday. This is why compassion has a greater impact on society.

Some may argue that violence has a greater impact on society because it is more widely publicized. While this is true, compassion is also advertised a lot. For instance, almost everyone has heard of Captain Sully, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King, Jr. All these people have made a positive contribution to the world. Captain Sully showed compassion when he successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River after hitting a large flock of geese, which disabled both engines. Because of his bravery and calmness during this time, all 155 passengers on board survived. Mother Teresa is known for her compassion because she spent almost her entire life in India feeding the poor and taking care of the sick people that no one else would. She even won the Nobel Peace Prize for her amazing compassionate work. While not as widely known, World War II German pilot, Hanz Stigler, showed compassion in the middle of the war. He “had every reason to shoot down the American B-17 bomber in front of him”. After all, the enemy had already killed his bother and he could “round out” his kill score and secure the German equivalent of the Medal of Honor. He was about to shoot but he found it strange that they were not shooting back at him. Upon a closer look, he saw the gunner had been killed and most of the others wounded. The plane was in very poor condition and was struggling to stay in the air. But instead of shooting the plane down, he signaled to the pilot and led them to safety.

Compassion spreads easily. When someone does something nice to you it makes you happy, so you then tend to do something nice for someone else! There are many examples of things like this including the “Free Hugs Campaign”. One man was going through a hard time, and so he got out a piece of cardboard and a marker and wrote FREE HUGS on both sides. After about twenty minutes, people came and hugged him and it soon spread all over London. Many other people made signs and hugs were everywhere! Another example is the ALS ice bucket challenge. This expanded all over the United States for moths spreading awareness about ALS. They raised over $100,000,000 to help find a cure for the disease. Millions of people dumped a bucket of ice water over their heads to support research.

Lastly, compassion changes the world every day. We have all heard of Martin Luther King Jr. and the work he did. He used compassion to fight for his rights and the rights of other African Americans. But instead of using violence, he used compassion, which made his work even more admired by all of us. Another example of a compassionate person is Jane Goodall. She once said, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you what to make.” I fully agree with this because, if you thing about it, whether it’s throwing something away or creating something new we change the world. It doesn’t matter how big or how small, it makes a difference. Even worldwide organizations like Toys For Tots or TOMS shoes make a difference all the time. Toys For Tots works to make sure even poor children have a happy Christmas. They do this by asking communities to donate new toys to different locations in the area where the toys will be picked up and donated to kids in need. Every time TOMS sells a pair of shoes, they donate another pair to a person in need. They have donated over thirty-five million pairs of shoes to date! Without this organization, most of these people would likely not have shoes!

Many people have become famous for doing compassionate things, but you can do things too. Whether it’s seeing someone that’s sad and telling them a joke or recycling something you can change this world. You can inspire others at the same time and this causes compassion to spread. This is why compassion has a greater impact on society than violence.


Kids Philosophy Slam Home Page