This blog is part of the 1000 Voices for Compassion. I'm writing today, along with many other bloggers who joined a group on Facebook, to raise awareness about the greater need for compassion in our world. I joined the group for many reasons.
I have a son born with down syndrome who is now 9. He's at the age where other kids are starting to notice he's different. Sometimes the things he does are different from other kids. He just wants to be included in their world and play beside them. Lots of our friends have special needs as well. They may not look the same, talk the same, or act the same, but we are human beings sharing the planet and it's good to be more accepting. When you see a kid like ours, it's helpful if you reach out and say hi to them. Accept their hugs. Explain to your own children that they are different but lovable nonetheless. Show your compassion to those kids and their parents when you find them.
I'm married to a Muslim man. We see it in the news all the time. Muslims are classified as bad people. The media highlights the religion of the people who are killing and being killed. It's always about the Muslims killing Christians or the Christians killing jews. It's time to stop focusing on our differences and realize these are just bad people killing good people. Maybe you heard about the recent Chapel Hill Shooting. Some good has come of the situation, but it was a tragedy and symbolic of what keeps happening around the globe. When you see a woman wearing a hijab or a man wearing a prayer cap in a public place, don't judge. Say hi. Accept their differences. Make friends with people of other religions, nationalities, and race. The world gets a little smaller and better when we share our lives with people who are different than we are. Show compassion when you hear or see others doing something bad to good people. Stand up for them.
I'm surrounded by intelligent, powerful men and women who gave up their jobs to stay at home with their kids. This is not an easy decision and requires an amount of patience some say they just don't have. Others are supporting single family homes and working two jobs. I know moms who are nursing babies and trying to help their kids with homework at the same time. A few are battling illness in themselves or their children. We aren't at our peak performance all the time. There may be people who cut you off when driving, or don't notice you in the cross walk. Recognize that we all struggle at one time or another. Ask how your neighbor is doing. Look others in the eye when they speak to you. Smile at people you pass on the sidewalk. Try not to be quick to judge others. Show some compassion. Together we can make this a better place to live.