How a simple act can change someone’s day


Seize any opportunity you can to be compassionate. It really can make the world of difference.


I teach drawing to adult beginners by showing them how to activate the right hemisphere of their brain which is ideally equipped for drawing. Even complete beginners reach a high level of competency when you take this approach.

One student is learning to draw birds and requested some extra help to ensure she could progress on to one of my more advances classes. We arranged a one-on-one lesson on the holidays on a day that suited her.

Unfortunately I managed to get my dates completely muddled – being in holiday mode! – and completely missed the class.

The piwakawaka or New Zealand fantail

I felt so bad. This person had reached out to me for extra help, was trying to progress, and had managed their own diary so they could travel to the lesson.

I was worried that when I reached out to her with an apology she might be annoyed. It’s amazing how that preconception of someone else’s reaction – a reaction that hasn’t even become reality – affects our mood and actions. So when I did speak to her and she was lovely and kind and understanding I felt so much relief and warm affiliation.

That changed my day. Of course, if it had happened to me I would – I hope – have seen it entirely from the perspective my student adopted. We’re all fallible. We make mistakes. It wasn’t deliberate. But because it was me who had made the mistake I was self-critical and fearful of reproach.

It’s just a reminder: whenever you can be compassionate to another person, take that chance. Whenever you can take the higher ground, offer your support, or show kindness, do it. It can make the world of difference to a persons’s day and, as my recounting of this story will show, often gets remembered long in to the future.

And my student? She went on to draw the most beautiful little fantail or Piwakawaka as it is known in Maori. It is a native to New Zealand where we both live.

This story was submitted by Kimbra Taylor.


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