Thursday, November 13, 2008

{Raising a Compassionate Child}

As a human, I make hundreds of assumptions about people and situations during my day. Some of these assumptions are good , but the majority of assumptions I make are probably incorrect and are just simply not necessary.

Case in Point: When I took Ella Grace for her 1 year check-up at the pediatrician's office (a task that in 14 short months I have come to loathe) I was sitting in the waiting room to be called to the back and could not get over the fact that one mother (clearly years younger than me - assumption #1) could not keep her 2 boys under control. You know the kids - the ones when you are out to dinner that are running all over the restaurant or the ones that are screaming at their mothers on aisle 9 at the grocery store because they want Fruity Pebbles (do they even make that cereal any more). So I sit, annoyed by it all and wait. While I'm waiting the little mama strikes up a conversation with a grandmother in the waiting room - and we all know how grandmothers can be nosy to say the least. She was asking how old the boys were and noted how rambunctious they were. The mother who I'm sure had been waiting a long time (like we ALL do at that office - hours, people. hours.) started commenting on how hard it was to keep their attention and get them to sit still. 2 boys both with full blown autism. The middle son couldn't talk and just made noises at the T.V. when Dora the Explorer (one of his favorites) was one. The youngest boy could interact a little more than the other but still had attention issues - don't we all when we have to sit in a doctors waiting room. The oldest child was at home. Blind. Autistic. Cerebral Palsy. This mother who I assumed didn't care if her boys ran around and terrorized people in the waiting room at the doctors office was there to get more tests.again. Poor thing already looked worn out and it was only 9:00 am. No. Wonder.

You know what they say about assumptions - and boy did I make a big ass out of myself that day.

I think about situations like this when I think about raising a more compassionate child. How am I supposed to be able to raise one if I can't be one myself?

The more assumptions I make about other people and their circumstances, the more time, energy, and emotion I take from my own life. I found some alternatives on another web-site that I am going to work on to start my way towards a more compassionate life :

Give others the benefit of the doubt. Did some guy cut you off in traffic? Instead of thinking that he's a jerk, let it go. He could be rushing a pregnant woman to the hospital or really need to use the restroom. This strategy is particularly useful for when you come into contact with people who aren't a regular part of your routine. Admit that you know nothing of their situation, and spend your time and energy on something else.

Ask questions. In almost every situation, you can instantly find relief by simply asking a question so that you stop making assumptions and discover the reality. Did someone miss a dinner reservation? Pick up the phone and call him or her and ask why. Stop worrying and find out the answer.

Be the better person. Take a second to breathe, imagine how an incredibly kind and savvy person would behave, and act accordingly.


Today I'm thankful for the little reminders that God hands down to show me that I have it so good.

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