Guest Blogger: On Compassion and Wolves – Do we feed the wolf of compassion?

I am delighted to have Joanne Minaker, founder of Cared Humanity as my guest blogger today.  I really liked her post on compassion and I’m thrilled to share it with you on this site.


Today, two words are swirling around in my head and heart: compassion and wolves.

Our son, Taryk, has been working on a Passion Project for school. He’s in Grade 4, loves to play lacrosse, hockey, martial arts, and video games – like many boys his age. Not one of these fun activities made the top of his list of passions to share with his class.

Tomorrow, Taryk will make a presentation to his class about his passion for animals, specifically, wolves.

I’ve said before that I believe that when we look to blame and shame “big bad wolves” we are no closer to solving social problems and we move farther away from each other. Yet, it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this post this afternoon, Feeding the Wolf of Compassion, that I realized the intimate connections between my son’s project and the call building inclusive, safe, and caring communities for all. I had heard this proverb before, but it was worth reading again today.

He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me … it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.” They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied… “The one you feed.” (A Cherokee proverb (from

Compassion means to suffer with another (from the roots passio (suffering) and com (with).

Feeding the wolf of compassion allows us “to see the impact of small acts and begin to understand the extraordinary accomplishment of collective healing, as well as to think more deeply about how organizations build unique capabilities that bring out the best of the human condition.” (Compassion at work blog)

Far too many boys and men engage in horrific acts of violence and families the world over are shattered because of it. I hope I feed the wolf of compassion, empathy and kindness more than I feed wolves of fear and anger. I wish the same for my son, and yours.

The original in its entirety is posted on the Cared Humanity website

Thank you Joanne!

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