Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Teach Your Child Compassion

I'm so tired of hearing bad news everywhere lately. It bothers me so much that my whole day goes south from then on and I often wonder how this world got so messed up, so violent, so utterly hopeless. Yes, I'm sure you International Relations and Political Science gurus out there can come up with a number of academically sound reasons along with perhaps some equally sound suggestions on how to fix it but in my simplistic mind, the solution is clear: spread the messages of compassion, of kindness, of love. Oh, I know what you are thinking - that I'm very na├»ve and that I am viewing this complex world of today too simplistically, but see, like my views on health, I'm rather holistic in my beliefs too - don't just (to borrow a term from my manager) "band-aid" the symptoms - get to the root of the issue and fix it from there. Don't get me wrong, I undoubtedly believe in gun control or increased school safety for e.g and think they are much required first steps in addressing the number of shootings we see here in the US BUT they are not, by far, the only. If every single one of us treated the people, we met and interacted with daily, with respect and love and also spread that message of love via social media, word of mouth and more importantly, our actions, I can guarantee it would have a domino effect - granted, the results may not be visible immediately and yes it may take a generation for it to really take hold in a way that has long lasting impact but think about it for just one second - it really doesn't take much to set it in motion. If we can share pictures, our kids' achievements and our work woes, why cannot we encourage those around us to be kind? I am amazed, constantly flabbergasted in fact, at the number of people who overlook a simple "hi" when met with in a work kitchen or those who skip saying a quick "thanks" to their train conductor, bus driver or cafeteria lady. 

Where has basic compassion gone?

We, as parents, have to reinforce these concepts with our children. We need to teach them to *understand* why a bully may act the way he/she does or why a friend is sad. By doing so, not only are we teaching our children to be better human beings, we are giving them hope and trust in humanity in general - a 'tool' to get through those bad moments in life and make some sense of them. 

I recently read an article about an Amish community that not only forgave but comforted someone that killed several of their children out of grief over the death of his own infant child. We talk about the Lanzas, the Chos and the Harrises with contempt and hatred but what about compassion? Those kids weren't born like that - circumstances, their parents, hell life, made them that desperate that the only way they were able to express their frustration was through mass murder. How bad must their lives have been for them to do something that an average person would never dream of doing? I'm not condoning what they did or even saying that it is easy to overlook such a huge crime - I am simply saying *understand*. Perhaps if they had had friends that overlooked their initial 'weirdness', friends who had tried to connect regardless of it, they may have had a reason to value their own lives and others'.

Leaving you with a quote for the day:

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive" ~ Dalai Lama

~S~

1 comment:

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