Caring about others is not a sign of weakness

Rodney Harwood

I once had a friend tell me, “Don’t mistake my compassion as a sign of weakness.”

He’d been inside, and I guess prison life demands you build emotional layers of protection. But I am of the belief we can make this instant-access-all-about-me world a better place and that compassion is not a sign of weakness.

This time of year we hear about all kinds of tales where someone cares about the next guy or his or her family just a little bit more than they do themselves. Each time we expand our ideals, it doesn’t contract quite so much. Suddenly there is racial equality, there is gender equality, or just a little less oppression.

Here’s a little story I discovered right here in the Columbia Basin that tells me I picked the right place to settle down.

Carolyn Pence and her staff over at New Hope Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Crime Victim Services have the kind of job you wish no one had to do — picking up the pieces of shattered lives and help them build that trust one more time.

How do you teach the children to work hard and trust God, when life isn’t always what they painted on the black and white television shows of “Leave It to Beaver.”

You keep pitching it and you build a better world one action at a time.

Sometimes it’s one step forward, 10 steps back. If I work on making my world better, one thought at a time, one action at a time. And, you work you work on yours, they we can, in fact, change the world.

Here is the story of a kid that is listening.

Every year, New Hope puts families in need with people wanting to make the world a better place in a deal called New Hope family adoptions for Christmas. In the instant-access world where Twitter accounts ring out, “Look at me,” this action in the spirit of humanity took place in the spirit of Christmas, under the cloak of anonymity.

One of the students from Frontier Middle School saw that a family needed a washer and dryer. The student fired a call over to Home Depot and asked for a manager. That simple action, followed by the generosity of the corporate world, made it possible to donate a washer and dryer to a family.

It is that simple, if we make a conscious decision to do good in what often appears to be a world gone wrong.

The New Hope program helps families all over the Columbia Basin. Let’s take the word “needy” out of the description. We all need to know that people, one person at a time maybe, can and will make someone else’s journey just a little bit gentler.

This year, New Hope’s program brought joy into the lives 111 “kiddos” as they call ’em. Maybe, just, maybe, half of them will take the spirit into someone else’s life down the road and life becomes, well life in a good way.

It’s a thought. Maybe we can make it a concept, then a way of living as we move into the new year.

Rodney Harwood is a business/sports writer for the Columbia Basin Herald and can be reached at

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