Kacey Fredrick '24
We are going to talk about conscience today, one of our 4 core values here at NCS. For me I define conscience not as doing the right thing but what guides us to act on something, why we decide to do what is right. But what clicks in us, what goes off that makes us take that act? For the good Samaritan in today’s reading, it was empathy.
What does empathy really mean, being able to understand how someone feels and share their emotions. We often hear the phrase stepping in someone else’s shoes but it’s much easier said than done. When trying to find a personal anecdote to tell you all about, I struggled, and understandably. It’s hard to feel empathy, and often times we fail to go that deep.
When I was 10 doing a lemonade stand with my brother he fell and started having a seizure, in that moment I didn’t know what to do, the situation was so scary to approach, he was unresponsive with no control of his body, shaking with his eyes rolled back. I had no idea what to do, not even that, I didn’t think there was anything I could ever do to help him if this happened again. I struggled to understand how I could feel empathy when I would never experience what my brother did. I realized that we did have a shared experience that day and did share the same emotions of fear and helplessness, maybe just from a different view. So, I would challenge the assertion to be in someone else’s shoes, that’s a rare occurrence, but sharing emotions happens more often than we think.
In the story, the good Samaritan wasn’t able to be in the man’s shoes that got robbed, no one could, but they had a shared experience where both of them were caught in a moment full of fear and uncertainty on what was going to happen next. The intense emotions the Samaritan shared with the man was enough for him to take action and make a difference.
In the moment with my brother, I thought I couldn’t have empathy for him but looking back on out shared emotions and redefining empathy was my conscience telling me to figure out a way to stop and help, like the Samaritan did when he saw the man on the side of the road.
Another important idea this story brings up is the idea of what is a neighbor. A common value is the bible is helping your neighbor, in the story the Samaritan challenged himself and stopped for a stranger, and made a difference, his action went above and beyond and alter the man’s course of life. The Samaritan’s actions teach us that our neighbors are not just a friend or a family member, the story challenges us to not only reach out to those we know but also to those we may not, as they are neighbors as well. This year at ncs I am challenging myself to embody our core value of conscience to its core and invite you, if you see someone In need, have a shared experience, or share emotions, with someone on the close, stop and make that difference that the good Samaritan is. Everyone on the close is our neighbor, so I’m trying to go beyond my boundary of friends when that empathy strikes my conscience and I’m guided to act, I encourage you all to do that too.