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Alba Iulia
Friday, September 25, 2020

Empathy

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/ˈɛmpəθi/

noun

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

What does it mean to will the good of the other?

With Victoria being in stage 4 lockdown and curfew being implemented, we’ve taken extra precautions with our toddler. He knows that there is a virus going around and that it causes people to get sick with an ouchie. 

Now the concept of death is not yet part of his vocabulary. I believe that he is too young for that. But he does understand what it means to be hurt and to get hurt. He has experienced his own share of falls and tumbles. 

I remember when he was around 18 months old and he accidentally cut himself deeply. It was so bad that he required surgery on his thumb. That was one of the most harrowing experiences as a mother. Rather than blame me, my husband took the route of being supportive and was focused on getting him better. I, however, wallowed in my own self-inflicted guilt. I was the one watching him when the accident occurred. 

The agony of waiting outside the operating room, praying that he did not lose the mobility in his thumb was nerve-wracking. 

Thankfully, the surgery was successful.

Now, having gone through this experience, I can only imagine how the hundreds of families feel as their loved ones battle COVID-19.

Kaizen’s surgery was minor and the anxiety I felt was extreme. 

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With the current situation, imagine fighting for your life as you struggle for every breath. 

The virus is definitely real. 

I only have to talk to my sister who is a nurse and some of my friends who are working round the clock to provide care and support to the hundreds of patients currently battling the virus. 

Reading the news every day, you get a sense of futility. 

The slog seems never-ending with numbers being in the hundreds despite being in stage 4 of the lockdown

This got me thinking, what can I do?

Aside from staying home and following all the social distancing measures?

What can I do to ensure that the next generation is more empathetic?

To have a sense of belonging, that we are part of the greater community.

That our actions impact others.

Once again, I only focus on what I can control. As a mother to a toddler, I’m teaching him – sharing is caring. To consider other people’s feelings and not just his own. To be considerate and look at things not just from his own personal lens but to understand how his actions affect Mama and Dada.

We read books that talk about kindness and empathy. We use toys to illustrate situations wherein he could potentially help others and not just focus on himself. 

Once again, I am no expert. 

There is no one size fits all solution to all of society’s problems. 

But maybe, just maybe, if we change our mindset and focus less on ourselves and more on others the world would be a better place.

(For comments or feedback, email rainecabral@gmail.com)


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