Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cultivating Compassion

I have been a little spotty on the blogging lately. I am focused on my thesis, which is about how parents can help their young children to be humane. I just sent my introduction to my advisor, who gave me some phenomenal feedback as to a major element missing from my project.

Namely, this: why bother? Why do we want to teach our children to be humane? What's in it for them?

Good question. I've been giving it a lot of thought, and quite honestly I'm coming up seriously short on answers. It feels good to be compassionate, in my opinion, but why? Is it some complicated "Selfish Gene" calculus that tells us if I'm nice to someone today, they'll be nice to me when I need them tomorrow? Is it a social construct, related to religion or a secular Golden Rule? Why does being nice make us happy?

I'm open to suggestions, but in the meantime I turned up something worthwhile in my research:

A Guide to Cultivating Compassion in Your Life

Check it out. I especially like #3, the Commonalities Practice. "Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in his/her life," etc. Good stuff.

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