Friday, April 2, 2010

Increased Compassion in Our Conversations

I was blessed to be raised with a mother who never once raised her voice to anyone - not in anger and not in any other way. I can say honestly that I have never heard her condemn anyone. When we did something we shouldn’t have done, she would automatically tear up because of what she feared our actions, if continued, would do to us. Those tears were worse BY FAR than anything my dad did to punish us, but it was not transmitted through a sense of guilt. It came across obviously and strongly as a deep and abiding love for us and concern for who we would become. She simply was (and is) a gentle soul - a "sweet spirit" in the purest sense of that phrase. My dad used to say that if we came home and found everything gone, stolen by someone, my mom would say, “They must need it more than we do" - sincerely and reflexively.

I have a deep and abiding desire for respectful conversation and mutual understanding explicitly because of what I saw my mother live. She was loved, truly and deeply, by everyone who met her, and I wish I was like that more fully.

Elder Wirthlin’s words about accepting all within the orchestra (not just the piccolos) resonated with me largely because of my upbringing, but my experience since beginning to blog also made his words ring clearly to me. I have seen so much contention and bickering and vitriol even among the Saints, and it pains my soul - especially when I know what it does to people.

I don’t ask for compassion in commentary simply because of what it does to a conversation; I ask for it also because of what it can do within those who comment.


Roma said...

I am so striving for this in my own home, it's so improtant. I am looking forward to Nicholeen Peck's classes at the Holistic LDS Living conference in June to help me! I feel like I need so many tools to accomplish this!

Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused as to how i feel about this Ray.I think that it's the instinct to stay safe that often makes us yell out,and without this we can get into a lot of trouble.The bit that says ouch that hurt,stop it.I accept that we need to try to be considered in civil conversation and overcome that instinct in certain circumstances,but we do get to say when we are hurting,and sometimes that needs to be said loudly to be heard.This may apply especially yo personal relationships.

I can understand some harmful people,but I have to stop their behaviour immediately if it hurts either myself or those i love.I don't do that in a cavalier fashion,but I do try to listen to my instinct for safety.Words can be equally damaging,and sometimes words and ideas need to refuted robustly.Bullies need to be challenged.

However,in all this i need to say how very much I appreciate your modifying influence on just about every conversation in which i've seen you engage.I try to learn from your example,and it has been richly educational.

Papa D said...

"but we do get to say when we are hurting,and sometimes that needs to be said loudly to be heard."

I agree with that - and that sometimes it needs to be said harshly. There certainly are exceptions to the rule, and that is one of them.