Growing a compassionate village

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You are in line at the grocery store, the person in front of you is a mother with two children. In a blink of an eye one of the kids is now prostrate on the ground crying. The Mother reaches down to comfort the child and the child promptly hits Mom. We think, “I would never let my kid get away with that.” It’s pretty to think we only thought that when we were childless.The truth is we do it all the time. We think, oh that was not a battle worth fighting she should have given in. We sure are quick to judge other’s actions and compare them to ourselves. While we don’t know this particular Mother, we do it to our other Mother friends as well. She asked, she complained, she vented, we gave our two cents. When our two cents wasn’t followed we can be pretty harsh. We can get to the point where we are tired of giving advice. We become bitter and angry. I have even felt the need to vent to other Mother’s about how this one mother didn’t follow my advice. I told myself I needed to relieve the tension,it would make me feel better. I needed to relieve the frustration that she didn’t do what I said. Of course, I am right. Then the even more frustrating part when they do end up using your advice and it works. It is so easy to know what is right for someone else’s kid.We forget that we struggle with knowing what to do for our kids sometimes too. A lot of times, this venting is while the kids are playing at the playground. We can tell ourselves they are not listening, but we know they do hear some of it.There is the fifty million interruptions over “look at this!” “she pushed me” “I need to go potty”. They hear so much more than we think they do.

compassionmaggie.jpg

There is also that day that we are that Mother in the grocery store. It is us being judged. They didn’t see all the snuggling that happened that morning. They didn’t see the one on one interactions we had.They didn’t see the gummy smiles over baby food and cereal. They didn’t know we had run out of coffee that morning. They didn’t  know that the line to Starbucks ran ten cars long and with two kids , not happening. When you happened to catch the look in their eye, it crushed you. Normally something you would roll your eyes at but, the combination of multiple  night wakings and lack of caffeine are wreaking havoc. You find yourself re-evaluating the situation over and over. Maybe you should have given in. No, it was the right decision. Maybe I was overreacting to her requests. No she really was being ridiculous. What if instead of  judging that Mother, they provided a distraction. If that was you how much relief would that give you. See that one act of compassion would make such a difference in the day;Which ever side you were on. In that moment there was no approval or disapproval, there was only compassion. All people involved,including the children, walk away better. Chances are,happier too. When we are shown compassion it is easier for us to spread it to others.

With Credit to The Master Shift for the image.

With Credit to The Master Shift for the image.

When we let compassion lead our actions, we are not approving or disapproving,we are helping, supporting, sympathizing. Compassion makes us relate to others, if we just take the time to let it lead. If our first thought is how can I help? Instead of making a snap judgement.  At first, I thought but I am the one who needs healing. I am the one hurting. How is showing compassion to them going to help me.I need someone to show me compassion. That is the very subtle and tricky thing about compassion. The more we give it, the more we get it. The more I practiced compassion first, the more I realized I was healing.The more I showed compassion in my every day interactions the better I felt. There have been times that depression was beating down and it was hard to show compassion. I found myself just doing it, not really feeling it. That is how the double edge of compassion works sometimes though. While I didn’t think I was feeling it,somewhere deep down I was. The other persons smile made me feel even just a tiny bit better.

I don’t know about you but I know I have found myself reading posts like Lizzi’s about being the village and thinking YES! Then we somehow get caught up in the hum drum of the everyday. We forget that being the village is a two way thing.  We have to give to receive. WE have to be someone else’s village in order to have our village. It is not a fast process. Not by far. Little by little we realize the more we help others the more we receive help. There is the other part of this that is so hard, we have to receive. We have to be open to receiving. We have to accept the help however it comes, not just the way we expected it. Accepting the help, receiving the help can be so hard. We actually have to lower our barriers to let it in. We get frustrated when that help doesn’t come exactly how we thought it would. What we have to see is, maybe the help we did get, was exactly what we needed. When we take the time to help others , we are helping ourselves as well. The more I have put myself out there to help my Mother friends with their kids, the more help I have found for my child. Yet again compassion has shown me ways to improve myself, that also improves my child as well. It really is a trickle down effect.

While it may seem like compassion is too complex of a subject to teach a child, If we practice it;we teach it. By showing compasssion to other Mother’s we are teaching our children compassion. We are showing them that no one is perfect and that is okay. No one has to be perfect when we let compassion lead. That illusion of perfection fades away into acceptance. The more we are compassionate to other Mother’s , the more we are able to be compassionate to ourselves. The more we are able to see our faults, but also to know that it’s okay.If we have let compassion lead we have the balance of the village to help even things out.

This post has been part of a group effort of over 1000 other writers, bloggers and people. The other hosts are:

The inspirational two women who started it:

Lizzi at https://summat2thinkon.wordpress.com/    and                  Yvonne at http://yvonnespence.com/

http://1000speak.wordpress.com/                                                 Jen At http://driftwood-gardens.com/

Roshni at http://www.indianamericanmom.com/                        Michelle at http://gettingliteral.com/

Kristi at http://www.findingninee.com/                                       Lisa at http://www.themeaningofme.com/

Crystal at http://theqwietmuse.com/                                                  Pooja at https://ilirianravings.wordpress.com/

Gene at https://justgeneo.wordpress.com/                                      Katie at  http://head-heart-health.com/

T.A. Woods at  http://penpaperpad.com/                                        Leah at https://littlemisswordy.wordpress.com/

The most compassionate thing you can do is hit the share button, You never know who may need this. The next compassionate thing is to leave a comment. Tell me your thoughts! Then Go to the link up below and read more about compassion and share more!

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26 responses »

  1. Thanks so much for your post. It would be a wonderful thing if we could get that village thing going to take the stress out of parenting and also so our children can experience community. I am also taking part in 1000 voices and will be posting in the morning, although I posted today about the case of two Australians on death row in indonesia and the reasons for clemency. Can’t wait to read the posts xx Rowena

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  2. So powerful and so true. It’s easy to forget in the course of our day to day lives, just how much our kids learn from our every action and reaction. Making compassion part of our daily routine will be good for ourselves and great for the future of our society. We can raise the kindest, most compassionate generation ever by just keeping this in mind!

    Liked by 3 people

    • true, children are the best imitators.. and therefore, they grow up mostly like us.. if they see us compassionate they grow up being one themselves.. I strongly believe it is in the rearing.

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  3. Compassion between mothers is such a fruitful topic. I have been in need of it, and I have been the recipient of it, and I have been stingy with it. I hope to think I will only grow more generous with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Where To Find Compassion | Wasted Days And Wasted Nights

  5. Your post has made me realize how judgmental I tend to be in my everyday life. If everyone could be less judgmental and more compassionate, this world would surely be a much better place. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mummy judgement is such a strange and unique thing. And I maintain that a lot of this perceived (and actual) judgement comes from the place where we judge ourselves the hardest. If we can be compassionate to ourselves in that moment two things happen, we care less about what other people think AND we are able to show more compassion to others when it’s not us, but them in that situation. x

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  7. Oh yes. Lovely post. And while I know my kids are watching me, it is very hard sometimes to be the example. I think we are all forever works in progress. That said when I see my kids show compassion to each other, and others, or to me, my heart grows just a bit bigger and I remember to cut myself a bit of slack.

    And I’ve been both people at that grocery store – the judged mom and the judger. It’s hard to remember to put yourself in the place of the other, but a compassionate act when you can remember to do so. I was once struggling with my two girls at the grocery store when this elderly couple approached me and instead of lecturing me on childrearing (which I was expecting) help me get them to my car and strap them in! I didn’t need QUITE that much help, but the effort, and the place of compassion that I knew it came from kinda made my week!

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  8. I don’t know what I’d do without my village! Just today a friend borrowed my car to take my kids to school because I was teaching a class. And tonight I”m taking some space heaters to a friend who’s heat has been working well this week. It just happens naturally in my village and I am so honored to be a part of it!

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  9. Thank you for this, Erin. Especially this:

    “We forget that being the village is a two way thing. We have to give to receive. WE have to be someone else’s village in order to have our village.”

    Touched.
    Truly. touched.

    With blessings,
    Dani

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  10. Thank you so much for this post! As I read your hypothetical situation of the woman in the grocery store I thought of all the ways I’ve approached this in the past. Then I began to think of all the ways I could do better in that moment. Thank you for guiding me to some introspection.

    “The more I practiced compassion first, the more I realized I was healing.” – I loved this. It is so easy to get caught up in our own suffering and forget that that way doesn’t lead to healing, just to more self-pitying inaction. I’ll be pondering this for a while.

    May the world be flooded with compassion today, and may you and I be part of it!

    Have a lovely weekend.

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  11. So easy to judge because we forget that there are days when we are, as you said, that other mother who is struggling. I think you said it best iwth the point that children hear and see us when we least expect it. There’s a poem or something about it – when you thought I wasn’t looking…now I have to find that. Also makes me think of the one “Children Learn what they Live.” Such true and powerful words. I want to kick myself when I catch myself behaving poorly and my daughter sees. Ugh. Makes me want to be better in so many ways.

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  12. Thanks very much for stopping by and viewing my #1000Speaks entry. I wanted to give you some props because I saw you tied the compassionate theme to the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. I think that’s important– so often, we can show compassion by our gratitude.

    More on-topic, regarding your post- I ask for some consideration for the “New Wave” dads. I guess it’s a somewhat selfish request because I consider myself one, and I do remember times when I was that parent, trying to keep it together when my kids were acting up. Sometimes it was at the grocery store, but it was other places, too, like at church. It’s gotten better. I’m grateful that my kids are about as happy going to a burger joint playplace instead of Chuck E. Cheese. I’m grateful that my daughter still confides in me, even with all the turbulent changes of adolescence. I also chuckle when my wife advises me to stop advertising how I like to do the chores (because sometimes women online will ask ‘Will you come and do mine?’ and she tells them, ‘No! Get your own man to do it!’ 😉 )

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    • I do agree with you on this. I chose specifically to write this one about mothers. I see these as two different subjects to address. I also think there is some assumption from women when seeing a father having a tantrum child in public that it is some how the fathers fault or he doesn’t know his child in some form. Wow that was a long sentence.

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      • How to put this delicately… are you implying that women do most of the judging of parents on childrens’ behavior? Or do the men just simply keep it to themselves better? Is it that our society still believes that women are still the primary caregivers, and that men really are the bumbling oafs portrayed on TV?

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      • No I think women are more judgemental. It has been the balance of my husband who has often pointed out things from the others perspective. I don’t see him and his friends talking about other fathers and what they do or dont do or how THEY would do it instead. I think perceptions are slowly changing but is still heavily on the mothers are the caregivers. I do see it shifting. Some of this understanding came when I was working two jobs and my husband cared for our daughter. He didn’t do things always the way I did and I had to come to grips with that. To wrap my head around that she was still cared for and well taken care of. I have never really related to how fathers are portrayed on tv as my father was much more like Mr. Tanner on Full house than Modern Family. In fact I would say my husband also would fall into that category. Maybe a mix of Mr. Tanner and Tim The tool man taylor would be a bit more accurate. I do see a lot of assumptions a dad out with his kids is just fumbling along and that it is an every day occurance for some fathers.

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