Sometimes I think as adults we forget the basics. The things kids just know and don’t even second guess. Somewhere in the pursuit of being an adult we forget the most important things. We allow the world to jade us and become cynical. Kids just naturally see the good in people. Until you give them a reason, you are good. Sometimes people call this growing a thick skin. Let’s not forget though that thick skin can still be soft, bendable, pliable, giving.
I put out a call on my personal Facebook page, on Chronically sick Facebook page, on twitter. on Google + and even Instagram. It was really difficult to get people to take part in this. I was not interested in judging anyone for what their child said. I expected a lot of,
“I don’t know.” ‘s
A lot of shrugging
My daughter even asked me to define my question more. What do you mean Mommy? Compassion about what? I think that in and of itself was very telling. She didn’t spit out a definition. She automatically knew it was about an action. It just furthered my belief that children just instinctively know what compassion is. They may not know what the real word for it is, but they know it.
A two-year old may not be able to even say the word compassion. However,burst into tears around a two-year old and most of them will either join you or give you soft touches and ask what is wrong. Isn’t that like compassion personified?
The very next comment I got was from a two-year old. They really just boil it down to the basics, don’t they.
Since getting involved in 1000 speak for compassion , I have been naturally thinking of compassion more and more. I have seen some areas in my life where it is lacking. I have really been paying attention to more and more that is going on around me.
I would describe myself as a compassionate person to begin with. I found it strange to even be thinking of ways I can be more compassionate. Even at the same time as I am thinking, we can always be more compassionate.
We want our kids to be compassionate but are we really showing them what compassion is. That compassion doesn’t limit anything. Every thing, living or nonliving, deserves compassion.Does that seem weird? Non living needs compassion? How in the world can non-living things need compassion. Really just sit there for a minute with that.
If compassion is caring and loving something and wanting it to be whole and complete. Then it can be seen as treating your things with compassion. Some call that respect, but I see compassion being applied here too. Have you watched how a child plays with a treasured toy? Lovingly and not wanting to hurt them. While we know toys are not alive, we don’t stop them. Eventually they learn their toy is not alive, they still treasure it. Books may not be able to feel when there pages rip but does that mean it feels any less hurtful? There are those that would argue that since paper is made from trees, it is in fact a living thing. I can completely see that as well.
Let me just gush for a moment about what Monkey boy says compassion is. School. It seems silly at first but , really passion is school. Compassion does teach us so much. If we let it. Those last four words, they matter the most. Compassion can teach us things, but we have to let it in. It also has to be a lesson we are ready to receive. Sometimes when this happens to me, I have had a particular lesson several times, I wonder what took me so long to ‘Get’ it. Here it was for me to see all this time. Sometimes then it is also a lesson we didn’t even know we needed.
So what exactly is this compassion? It seems we can sum it up by what the kids have said. We don’t necessarily know the word for it but we know it when we see it;It is whole and accepting love, it is learning and most of all it is an action. Whether we are giving or receiving, it is an action.