Archive for the 'kindness' Category

Oppression

November 29, 2011

I am trying to figuring out what lies behind the apparent fact that sometimes when we’ve experienced an emotional transaction with someone else we try our best to avoid doing it to others, and why sometimes, whether intentionally or not, we wind up repeating the transaction but with ourselves in the other role.

So, for example, I’ve received very unhelpful condolence notes myself and I make an extra effort not to do the same myself when it’s my turn to write.  On the other hand, I resented that my father refused to teach me how to drive (someone who was like a second mother to me taught me instead, including how to talk to other drivers), and I’ve taught neither of my children to drive (my dad did teach my older sister), although for very different reasons.

I suspect this has to do with how the life lesson needs to be taught, perhaps like the difference between reading about something in a textbook and doing a hands-on project.

So, I titled this “Oppression” because I am wondering how people who grow up feeling oppressed deal with that as adults, whether they try their best not to force others to conform, for example, or whether they visit oppression on others in some other form or guise.

 

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Hearts and codes

October 5, 2011

When my kids were in elementary school, I remember hearing on the school playground another mother admonish one of her sons to be kind to his brother, and follow it up with the “reminder” that since he was his brother, he needed to be especially kind to him.

I don’t think I had ever heard this notion before, it certainly wasn’t one I had heard growing up.  I had heard to be kind, period.  It wasn’t about family, or even friends.  Maybe the grown-ups in my life then took it for granted that I would understand the limitation to family, but I didn’t.

Having an open heart is not just about being kind to members of what one considers one’s own family.  Nor is it antithetical to following codes, applying moral principles, preaching religious precepts.  To my way of thinking, it’s the reliable lubricant to social relations that work; in contrast, techniques such as superficial politeness and manipulation eventually, if not sooner, exhaust their ability to keep things going.