You can find insights of this season in unexpected places. Michael Fowlin Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, actor and poet. He has spoken before school groups and in other venues around the country on discrimination, inclusiveness, and personal identity. This past week at the invitation of Principal Bob O\u2019Donnell, he spoke in two 90-minute assemblies to every student in Wilton High School, filling both times the entire Clune Center Auditorium. With brilliant, often witty, and always insightful characterizations and constant interaction with his audience \u2014 who were thoroughly engaged in his presentation! \u2014 he conveys great truths in ways that really drive to the heart of the matter \u2014 and to the heart. \u201cHurt people hurt people \u2014 some are walking time bombs,\u201d Fowlin said. Clinical psychologist and Wiltonian Dr. Beth Baker Fuller put it especially well recently: \u201cHatred is directly proportional to the helplessness people feel.\u201d Fowlin\u2019s prescription: \u201cIf someone is cruel to you, then find a way to be kind to them,\u201d and he told the story of the bully who accosted him at school every day and stole his lunch. So young Michael Fowlin asked his mother to pack him two sandwiches every day, and each day, he gave one to the bully. The two eventually became best friends \u2014 turns out the boy had a dysfunctional family and basically ate only what he could steal from others; no one else had ever shown him compassion. So Fowlin encourages, \u201cTake your pain and turn it into something positive. \u2026 What do people 90 and older say is their chief regret? \u2018I wish I\u2019d done more things that will live on after I\u2019m dead.\u2019\u201d Fowlin adds, \u201cIf we are all different from each other, why do we hate differences?\u201d He quoted the words of a college senior\u2019s commencement address: \u201cWe\u2019re in this together; let\u2019s make it the best.\u201d He continues that we should celebrate others, take joy in their accomplishments, laugh with them, help them through their sadnesses. \u201cKnow that the kid next to you with the best grades may be the most anxious kid in school, feeling constantly, \u2018Will I be able to keep this performance up?!\u2019\u201d So after saying, \u201cWhat you see is not always what you think you see\u201d and \u201cWhat you hear is not always what is being said,\u201d we see Fowlin acting out a series of characters with vivid life stories whose outward appearances do not reflect who they really are inside. They are seen by others as stereotypes, yet their actual life experiences reflect the diversity of all life. He drives home that \u201cmy pain is my gift and it is uniquely mine.\u201d With it, we can find ways to better comprehend how others are hurting and help them. Fowlin observes that the things you will remember throughout your life with profound regret are the times you could have reached out with compassion but did not. And lo and behold, not even a day later one of my closest friends told a group of us over lunch about the autobiography he is slowly writing for his kids, covering so far only his youth. He said he remembers vividly two times, one when he was only a five-year-old and the other in middle school, when he could have helped others being attacked at school for their ethnicity and their race but didn\u2019t. Over a half-century later, his regret is as vivid as his memory. In the parking lot at Middlebrook School this past week, a car displayed on its rear window, attributed to Dawn Lafferty Hochspring, \u201cBe nice to each other. It\u2019s really all that matters.\u201d And it is especially fitting that Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukah fall on the same day this year. The foundational truths of both faiths are grounded in love and express it in reaching beyond oneself to help others: The powerful Jewish Talmudic precept \u201cHe who saves one person saves the world\u201d is based on the Hebrew Bible\u2019s injunction to \u201cLove your neighbor as you love yourself.\u201d And Christianity has within its foundational teachings Jesus\u2019 own story \u2014 offered in answer to a questioner\u2019s follow-up inquiry, \u201cBut who is my neighbor?\u201d \u2014 of the Good Samaritan stopping to care compassionately for a grievously injured person unknown to him lying by the roadside after others had passed by, heedless of his desperate need. The moral: Our neighbor is everyone. As we experience this season of lights and enlightenment, it is well to remember who we are and what it is that leads to the greatest fulfillment in life.