They Are Empathetic: But What If It’s Not Enough?
My kids. My two kind, caring, and empathetic little beings. My girl will snag an extra lolly from the doctor’s office for her little brother waiting at home. My boy will get a drink for his sister if he’s getting one for himself. When faced with the reality that only one will get first dibs on something (or no dibs at all), one will suggest a round of “Rock, Paper, Scissor” to avoid hurt feelings.
They are kind. They are caring. They are empathetic. And yet, despite these evident qualities, the question haunts me: But what if it’s not enough?
This fear is typically triggered by my daily stroll through Facebookland. Scrolling through, I’m beleaguered by photos of my friends’ kids donned with medals and trophies or engrossed in books, boasting the triumphant claim, “He’s already reading Harry Potter!”. Their children offer toothy smiles as they receive their 18th Student of the Month award. (There are only ten months in the school year, folks.) They are at a table, intently cranking out the latest Pintrest craft. They are pictured at the sink washing dishes, the scene described with great bravado: “He is such an amazing helper at home!”
You get my drift.
While social media builds bridges to connect us moms, I can’t help but feel that it simultaneously divides and disunites us. The accolades, whether they be athletic or scholastic in nature, can make us pause and question our own children’s worth. They put value on the extrinsic, rather than the intrinsic. Those touts about intelligence or beauty or athletic prowess speak to just that — an ability — not to the fundamental essence of a child. You see, those statuses and photographs only show a snippet of the story. Zoom out from those Pintrest-worthy kid crafting sessions, and you’ll see that the carnage ensued by eager, bumbling hands has been cropped. Grandstanding claims about how Johnny mopped the floors, polished the china, and folded the fitted sheets — something I’ve yet to master at 40-something years of age — fail to mention the preceding iPad negotiations that served as the catalyst.
I force myself to step back from these one-dimensional depictions of my friends’ kids. Instead, I choose to immerse myself in those mundane moments of motherhood when my son shares a blanket with his sister because she’s cold and my daughter asks her brother to join in on her play date because he has no one with whom to play. While these moments will never accrue any Facebook “LIKES” that serve to measure their worth as human beings, I remind myself: They are kind. They are caring. They are empathetic. And I love them beyond measure. And for me, that’s all that counts.
(Artwork provided by Torrie Lockwood, one of our writer’s very talented sisters. Visit her facebook page for quotes https://www.facebook.com/torrie.rohling?fref=ts )