Lately, I have been shocked at some of the things I have seen from “friends” and in society. I try to live my life with three words in the forefront of my heart and mind: kindness, compassion, and non-judgement. I’m not perfect and many times need to take a deep breath and regroup. I try very hard to teach my son these tenets and it warms my heart to hear him talk the way he does about others. How can we expect to teach our children if we don’t model the behaviors we are trying to teach?
What troubles me the is blatant lack of compassion and empathy I see day after day in our society. The attitude of, “If it doesn’t affect me then ‘fuck you’” is the most heart-wrenching and crushing blow I feel on a daily basis. What has happened?
A post in my Facebook feed yesterday chastised teachers for complaining about being underpaid because this person noticed some luxury cars parked in the staff parking lot. No matter how many people told her that this was most likely due to the teachers being married to someone making significantly more money, they continued to spew hateful rants that teachers were not underpaid and that, instead, just needed to live within their means. How sad it is that when people have troubles in their own lives they post endlessly about it hoping that people will empathize with them (if they didn’t want empathy, why did they post about it in the first place?) yet when someone else needs help, empathy, or compassion, they turn their back?
As a society, we have lost our way. Our hearts have turned to stone if it doesn’t affect us. Teachers. Do they not hold our future in their hands? Thomas E. Cronin wrote:
Great teachers give us a sense not only of who they are, but more important, of who we are, and who we might become. They unlock our energies, our imaginations, and our minds. Effective teachers pose compelling questions, explain options, teach us to reason, suggest possible directions, and urge us on. The best teachers, like the best leaders, have an uncanny ability to step outside themselves and become liberating forces in our lives.
Successful teachers are vital and full of passion. They love to teach as a painter loves to paint, as a writer loves to write, as a singer loves to sing. They have a serious purpose and yet enjoy enormously what they do. They teach their subject — politics, physics, psychology, or whatever — as if it really mattered. They can get excited about their subject no matter how many times they have held forth on it. They vivify their subject and rise well above the mechanical, dry, or routine. They push themselves just as they push their students, and their courses become memorable learning experiences.
My good friend Kelli was right when she said that if we doubled teachers’ salaries they would still be underpaid.
When did we stop appreciating the good in each other? When did everything become grounds for arguing? Fighting is everywhere. Bloggers are arguing. This blogger is arguing with that blogger. Why? We’re all moms just trying to get by. Shouldn’t we be supporting each other instead? Watching that fight made my heart sink. Again, kindness, compassion, and non-judgement.
The other night I went to the theater with my special friend to see Death of a Salesman. What a gut wrenching play. It made think about our society and how we treat each other and how we live in the moment. We cast aside that old comfortable shoe that has carried us for years, through the ups and downs of life for the shiny new leather…the newest fashion craze. We do this in the same way we cast aside old friends, old lovers, for the new thrill, the new in-the-moment excitement, when all along we should be counting our blessings in what we have and trying to create and maintain the spark and fire in the current, stable relationships of our lives. It reminded me of how vitally important family is, how we should be able to take refuge there, put all our trust in the ones we love, and count on them to be there for us and with us until we die. It doesn’t always work out that way but what you build today matters. How you build it matters. Your attitude towards others matters. We should be looking inward instead of looking to others to find peace, happiness and tranquility in our lives in order to extend those feelings outward.
Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” We are all connected in one way or another.
In kindness, compassion, and non-judgement.