The Meadows Blog

The Power of Compassion

Michael Crawley - Friday, May 30, 2014

Compassion is the most powerful force in the world. It can defeat indifference, intolerance and injustice. It is able to replace judgment with acceptance because it makes no distinction between age, ethnicity, gender or disability. It freely embraces the rich diversity of humanity by treating everyone as equals. It benefits both those who receive it and those who share it. Every person on earth desires it, and every human being deserves it.

It is an absolute fact that our society cannot function without compassion. It’s a fundamental part of our communities, and it is necessary to ensure that all those in need receive the supports and services they require. Compassion drives society to be inclusive and to allow all of its members to be fully engaged in life. It is what compels human beings to care about each other and to help each other.

A single act of compassion can change a person’s life forever.

Compassion is the willingness to give. It’s the desire to donate your talents, abilities and, most importantly, your time. It is the commitment to place someone else’s needs above your own. Some mistakenly believe that compassion must always involve great personal sacrifice, but that is not true. The reward you receive from sharing your compassion is far more significant than anything you might give up in the process. To make a real difference in another human being’s life is a richly satisfying feeling.       

Unfortunately, it is far too easy to stand on the sidelines in life and wait for “others” do the right thing. It takes character and integrity to be the one who is willing to step up and make a difference. To feel sympathy for someone is not enough. We must also be willing to take action. That is why compassion requires courage. Together they are one of the most dynamic combinations in the world.

Compassion is the bond that unites all of humanity.

Compassion embraces the noblest characteristics of human beings. It allows us to think of others instead of always focusing on ourselves. It refuses to be selfish, it is willing to forgive, and it accepts people for who they are. Compassion gives us the ability to understand someone else’s situation and the desire to take action to improve their lives. It is the quality that allows us to step outside of ourselves and see the circumstances of others. It supplies the will power to do what is necessary to make the world a more caring place. Compassion inspires us to make an immediate and effective effort to come to the assistance of those who are dealing with challenges.

Compassion is particularly important to those who are vulnerable. For people who are dependent on others for help and support, compassion is often the most important factor in allowing them to lead fulfilling lives. Therefore we have a moral imperative to treat them as equals and to ensure that they enjoy the same rights as other members of society. They should never be marginalized or subjected to isolation. For those individuals, compassion provides respect while preserving their dignity.

We each have an endless supply of compassion, and it costs us nothing to share it.

Because it recognizes the urgency for assistance when someone is in need, compassion motivates us to get involved. We can’t help but reach out to those who are facing difficult situations when we are filled with compassion. It makes us sensitive to what other people are going through. It makes us care at such a profound level that we are filled with the overwhelming desire to make a difference. Compassion makes us accept responsibility that we never thought we could handle. It makes us better people than we ever dreamed we could be. It makes our existence meaningful and worthwhile.

But it’s important to understand that compassion is more than just an emotion; it is a way of life. Compassion lifts people up. It encourages, praises and embraces the humanity of others. It is genuine, sincere and from the heart. It is the acknowledgement of the value of another person. It is the desire to make the human experience better not only for ourselves but also for everyone else. And because nothing can have a faster impact in life, the positive effects of compassion are multiplied when the person who receives it shares the benefits with others.

We can create a meaningful difference in the world simply by performing one simple act of compassion after another.

Of course the purest form of compassion is when it’s shown to someone who will never know of your generosity. There is no expectation of being “paid back”. There are no words of thanks or a pat on the back. There is no public acknowledgment for your good deed. It is an act of kindness performed simply because it is the right thing to do. The reward is in knowing that you helped to change someone’s life. The willingness to share ourselves without thought for what we might get in return is the true nature of compassion. It’s when it is least expected that compassion often produces its most dramatic results.

Fortunately, there is an inherent goodness in people that naturally leads us to try to do what is right. That is why we attempt to raise funds to confront a problem, although money will not completely solve it. It’s the reason we petition the government to provide programs, even though we know they can only do so much. It is why we write about an issue and enlist the aid of celebrities to use their fame and influence to raise awareness about it, all the while knowing that publicity cannot ensure that it’s eliminated. In the end, despite our best intentions, the only true solution to life’s challenges is compassion. If we will love one another, if we will be filled with genuine concern and empathy for those who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, then the money, support and programs have a much greater chance of succeeding.

Compassion is the greatest gift one human being can share with another.

It is never too late for us to make a positive difference in the world. We simply start by thinking of others first. We consider their needs instead of focusing exclusively on what we want. We try to realize that our problems are often insignificant compared to what others face. We can each begin, right now, to enjoy a life based on compassion that will lead us on a fulfilling journey. We will experience a deep sense of joy in our efforts to improve lives. We will quickly understand how rewarding life can be when we sincerely make the effort to bring hope and opportunity to those facing challenges. We can learn to feel good about ourselves for attempting to be part of the solution. We can embrace a cause that is bigger than our small personal world. If we will begin to fill our lives with compassion, we will develop an increasing awareness of the courageous struggles waged daily by our fellow human beings.

It is impossible to know how much good can come from a single act of compassion.






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Dreams Come True

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, March 10, 2020

At 6:00 a.m. the alarm goes off. Hoping to put off the inevitable, you reach over and push the snooze button. However, you realize you’re not going back to sleep because your mind is quickly consumed by all of the reasons you don’t want to go to work.  
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The Business of Trust

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In the business world, long-term success can be elusive, but the Meadows has been able to achieve it because of just one word: TRUST. 
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A Meaningful Job

Michael Crawley - Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Employment is a crucial part of every person’s life. Obviously, the financial reward for working is necessary to sustain ourselves - but, in reality, being employed is much more than that.  
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A New Decade of Service

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Although there is much debate over whether 2020 or 2021 is the start of the next decade, for our purposes, we are going to look out over the next ten years starting January 1, 2020. 
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The Truth

Michael Crawley - Tuesday, December 03, 2019

It is an undeniable fact that human beings have always been willing to pass judgment and jump to conclusions about people who they believe are different from them. Unfortunately, this is particularly true when it comes to individuals with developmental disabilities.

These negative perceptions occur because we allow our emotions to guide our thinking instead of seeking the truth which can require effort and an open mind. Consequently, we are quick to label people with challenges and to categorize them for our own convenience. We fail to understand that no two people are the same and that each individual has their own personality and character. But we are, unfortunately, eager to form an opinion about their life without knowing a thing about them.

Here are five common situations that we are all familiar with. In each case, you encounter a person you think cannot possibly be a productive member of society.

You are shopping at the mall when two individuals walk past you. Suddenly one of them collapses with a seizure. You watch in shock as the convulsions run their course. Certain that the person lives in terror with the knowledge that a seizure could occur at any moment, you feel great sympathy for them. You assume their quality of life is compromised and that because of their epilepsy they cannot accomplish anything of significance.


You are eating at a restaurant when a person comes in with another adult. You can’t help but stare as they follow their hostess to their table. The individual has partial paralysis on one side of their body and there is visible scarring that indicates that they have endured multiple surgeries. The person walks with a pronounced limp, and you can see that their arm is immobile. You can’t imagine how they make it through the day living with those kinds of issues.


You are waiting to check out at the store. The individual in front of you is trying to communicate with the cashier, but their speech is extremely difficult to understand. The people behind you become impatient as the person struggles to convey their thoughts to the cashier who just wants them to move along and get out of the way. You feel great pity for the individual as you wonder what kind of “affliction” could’ve caused their inability to communicate clearly.


You are in line to buy a ticket for a movie when an individual standing with their mother becomes agitated about something. Very quickly the person’s behavior escalates and they begin to yell as they lose control of their emotions. Their mother tries to help them calm down, but she is not successful in getting the person to relax. You and others watch with silent disapproval as you harshly judge her lack of parenting skills for allowing this to happen in public.


You are waiting for an elevator. The doors open and a person carefully steps out pushing a walker. Their balance is precarious and their legs seem stiff and rigid. It is obvious that they would not be able to walk without the assistive device. You suspect their life is limited in countless ways because of their lack of mobility, and you can’t help thinking it would be better for them to stop trying to walk altogether and to just use a wheelchair.

What do these five people have in common?...... Yes, they each have a disability. Yes, it affects certain areas of their lives, and yes, their diagnosis is often used to unfairly define them. But what might surprise you is one other thing that they have in common. Something positive. Something meaningful. Something that deserves to be acknowledged.

All of these individuals are successfully employed at the Meadows.

Along with almost forty other men and women with intellectual challenges, these five individuals work each day at a variety of jobs that not only provide them with a hard-earned paycheck but also build self-esteem and self-confidence. They learn vocational skills, but, even more importantly, they are given every opportunity to reach their personal potential.

But when these same individuals go out in public, people rush to judge them based on nothing more than appearances. That kind of narrow-mindedness is unfair and unjust.

Obviously, there is an important lesson that must be learned.

When we encounter a person with an intellectual, physical or emotional challenge, we should treat them just like we would anyone else. They deserve to be understood and accepted for who they are as a person. They deserve to be treated with dignity. They deserve to be respected.

The men and women we proudly employ are perfect examples of what people with developmental disabilities can achieve in a positive work setting that offers support and encouragement.

The truth is simple. Every person, regardless of what their challenges happen to be, has the right to live their best life.

That is what our employees do every day.

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Why The Meadows Matters

Michael Crawley - Monday, November 11, 2019
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It Is Not Too Late!

Michael Crawley - Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Meadows annual Walk-A-Thon, held on Saturday, October 12th, was a tremendous success, and we want to thank everyone who participated.  
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Why We Are Not Hiring

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 25, 2018

People frequently contact the Meadows to see if we are currently hiring individuals with intellectual challenges. Unfortunately, as much as we wish we could, the answer is NO. 
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The Men and Women of the Meadows

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 18, 2018

The mission of our organization is to provide employment and vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities as well as other intellectual and physical challenges. 
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Physical Challenges

Michael Crawley - Sunday, February 11, 2018

For those of you who are familiar with the Meadows, you know that on this blog we focus primarily on intellectual challenges. That is because each of the men and women we employ has an IQ of 70 or less, which is the state’s criteria of determining a developmental disability. 
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The Meadows
Center for Opportunity

1000 South Kelly
Edmond, Oklahoma

phone: 405.348.4470
fax: 405.340.5395