Embrace Charter for Compassion in Spokane

By John Hancock

Tolerance is a fine practice. It allows us to live near other people. But my dad taught me that it’s not enough. Tolerance is beginner-level human relations. Compassion is the next constructive step. It asks for embrace, not just “to put up with.”

Likewise, kindness and generosity are vital. All religions and most philosophies share these ideals. But compassion requires much more. Its first step is to set aside judgment; to give up our analysis of what that person did that caused his trouble or her want and to stop using our rules of behavior to measure and help another person. When we take time to listen to a person describe what they need without imposing our judgment, we discover both commonality and uniqueness.

This is the unconditional love we’ve all heard about. It’s really hard, even within our own family of people like us. Offering it to all persons in Spokane, in revised practices of all organizations in Spokane, is what the Charter for Compassion asks of us.

I’m proud that my city leaders have embraced this ideal, and I look forward to the behaviors and activities which will make it true.


About John Hancock

John Hancock had a first career as a symphony orchestra musician and was a faculty member at University of Michigan. He has advanced degrees in music performance from Boston University and U.M.

Arts management was his way of problem-solving and expanding the public participation. He was orchestra manager of the Toledo Symphony, executive director of the Spokane Symphony and the Pasadena Pops and chief operating officer of the Milwaukee Symphony.

Currently he’s an Eagle Scout, a Rotarian, a liberal libertarian of an Iowa small-town self-sufficiency and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. A childhood Methodist, he now instead pursues ideas of commonality among religions and philosophies.

Volunteerism in civic, political and social services work draws him to town from his forest home outside Spokane. Since 2006, his Deep Creek Consulting has aided non-profit organizations in grantwriting and strengthbuilding.

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