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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hurts Compounded in Absence of Compassion

When hurt as a child, did you normally run to mom, to dad, or to whom? Why? What was the best way they could help you feel better? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1029).

This short question gets at the heart of much that is conflicted in human experience. The matter of trust, for example, is raised when a parent must discern if the child is truly hurt or just attempting to manipulate parents. In cases where the child is obviously hurt (say, after cutting their foot on glass on the beach), it is of utmost importance that the parent genuinely feel and show a high measure of empathy. Otherwise, the child learns a terrible lesson—no one gives a damn about me and the pain I suffer. And due to the principle of reciprocity, the child can grow up inflicting pain intentionally upon others—for this is quite literally what the parent did by not showing empathy when the child was hurt. Hurt can also be inflicted when the child is joyful and looks to their parents only to find indifference or hostility. It is the same lesson, just the flip side of it. 

I was most fortunate as a child for both my parents shared in their children's pain and joy. I came to understand that this applied not only to me, but to people even on the other side of the world. Therefore, it is important that children observe their parents and other adults contributing to local and worldwide relief efforts and exercising other expressions of compassion and empathy in joyful times and sad.

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