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Ted Talk

Spontaneous Compassion, Instead of Spontaneous Combustion?

April 19th, 2021     By Boys Town Contributor

National Research, Teaching Kindness

​​​​​The TED Talk by Boys Town's Dr. Friman Everyone Needs Now!

Finding our compassionate side has undoubtedly been harder this past year as we've struggled with isolation, both physical and psychological. But it doesn't mean we can't find that extra sliver of compassion, both for difficult others and for ourselves, as Dr. Friman outlines for us in his inspiring TED Talk.

Dr. Patrick Friman, Vice President of Boys Town's Outpatient Behavioral Health Services, looks at the circumstances that lead problematic people to behave the way they do. Father Flanagan, Boys Town's founder,  believed: “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking."

This circumstantial view of problematic human behavior can apply far beyond the boundaries of Boys Town®. As Dr. Friman reminds us, if we'd only look to see what could be fueling another's difficult behavior, we are far more likely to show compassion.

This is more important than one might think because humans have what are known as mirror genes. These genes lead us to mirror the behavior of others. So, when we show compassion instead of returning someone's rudeness or unkindness, we are breaking a cycle.

Can you think of historical greats who have been advocates of treating others with kindness and civility, no matter the circumstances? Do names like Jesus, Martin Luther King, Father Flanagan and Nelson Mandela come to mind? They should.

Behavior analysis, the golden rule, love thy neighbor … you choose the path, but when you start to walk the walk, not only will the lives of others improve, but you'll find that extra spark of compassion for yourself as well. This 11-minute TED Talk will be the best part of your day.




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