Over the last generation or two, we’ve witnessed a downturn in empathy and compassion being taught to our children. Here are my opinions and thoughts on why.
- More and more households have two working parents, leaving the largest part of child-rearing to strangers who have no emotional investment in our children. Many believe that both parents must work to get by, but often, (not always), it is not about getting by, but getting ahead. The desire for larger, nicer homes and cars has outweighed our desire to parent our kids.
- In some instances, a cycle of abuse and neglect has simply been continued on. If parents know no empathy, they can hardly be expected to teach it to their children.
- Faith is not popular these days. Many have found a foundation of moral and ethical, even empathetic and compassionate behavior to be taught in churches. Church attendance and even faith in a higher power has declined, which causes many to choose to have no moral foundation. While it is possible to be an atheist and have a moral compass, it is rarer than one might assume. Once certain lines are no longer drawn, and ethics are now situational, it is so much easier to wander down a path where anything goes, because it is believed there are few consequences to your behavior. If there is no God waiting to smack you down or send you to hell, then it is an easy leap to an “anything goes” lifestyle, for some. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” becomes the mantra.
- When one grows up without constant love, acceptance, positive touch, and compassion, one learns to count only on themselves. This leads to a “me first” mentality and a lifestyle of selfish and boorish behavior. Bad behavior becomes the norm. Looking out for number one is the only way some know to live. This is my societal observation. It makes me sad, but I have yet to be proven that any of this is untrue.
- As my fifth and final point, I’ll just say, let’s love our children first; put their needs ahead of our own. Too often we have babies having babies and nobody fully understands what it takes to raise a child (well) and into adulthood. Our children aren’t asking to be born; sometimes they are brought into this world as an expression of love, sometimes by accident, or a lack of planning. Even those who are planned and wanted in the beginning face the possibility of a neglectful or abusive upbringing once the parents realize just what it takes to raise a child. If you are not able to (compassionately and lovingly) raise a child for a minimum of eighteen years, (and it does not always stop there), please take steps to make sure you are not going to conceive a child in the first place. They say Hell is for Children, and often that hell is right here on this earth, in a home where they should be loved and cared for. Have empathy, show empathy, teach empathy; this alone will heal our hurting world.