My parents, especially my mom, showed me the importance of compassion.
I became a mom in October of 2006. During my pregnancy I remember feeling a sense of importance on what kind of parent I’ll be & what type of children I’ll raise. Right out of the gate I knew if I could teach my children empathy I will have done something right.
There’s a page in baby books that is a letter to your unborn child. In 2006, I poured my heart onto my oldest child’s baby book. I shared the importance of teaching them empathy & my hopes for them to live with an open heart. My second born had a(n accidentally) similar letter in their baby book. My youngest has yet to have a baby book, but that’s kind of how it happens, huh? Though I know my sentiment would be the same. The importance of empathy doesn’t change.
Why does empathy come easy to some but others seem to lack the ability? The truth is that we all have the ability to see & understand a different perspective. Some have true feelings of sorrow & weep for other people’s pain. They feel joy & excitement at the happy news of others. Feeling joy for others happiness seems to be the easier of the two.
I can’t help but feel it’s quite a privilege to not be able to deeply feel someone else’s pain. It takes a great amount of practice to hear the pain of strangers who are experiencing things we can’t possibly understand.
Teaching my children empathy has meant a great deal to me. The first positive comments I hear from my children’s teachers are about their big compassionate hearts. It makes me feel like I’ve truly done something right.
When I posed the question: ‘Where did you learn about empathy?’ to my Facebook & Instagram friends many said their parents, siblings, pets, & even their own children.
My friend Megan, who writes an incredible blog called Abbott and June, shared this excellent video with me & my heart exploded so I must share it:
My sisters thoughts on the matter were a quote from the character Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.”
I’ve rarely struggled relating to others & though I’m outspoken about my opinions, I enjoy hearing the other side of an argument. This is likely why my friend group isn’t loaded with only liberal progressives. In fact, several of my closest friends align themselves with conservative values & that’s rarely made me do more than roll my eyes.
Your political affiliation has nothing to do with compassion & empathy. If you see you’re “party” do something you don’t agree with, that is morally wrong, you shouldn’t justify it. Sometimes, wrong is just that.
In the end I want my kids to always defend the helpless &/or hurting. To lift people up. I want them to be aware of right from wrong & to not live their lives in silent complicity. Their lives should be filled with a variety of people, opinions, & experiences so they can use their empathetic muscles in a well rounded way, for the good of humanity. Wherever that leads them, I am proud.
To my children, I love you no matter what. Being your mom is my honor. I hope I make you as proud as you all make me.