Friday, February 20, 2015


This is a post for 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. On February 20th, 2015, over 1000 of us will raise our voices and our writing, and flood the internet (and our real worlds) with GOOD and COMPASSION.

It started with an understanding that even though we might get older, we still all need the metaphorical village around us, and the compassion of others in our lives. Then the sudden thought happened - what if 1000 of us wrote about compassion all at once? From there, the movement has taken on its own life; has burgeoned and grown and spread a whole lot of love and connection and 'villageyness'.

Read and share as many as you can using the hashtag #1000Speak on FB and on twitter.

Every voice matters - together we're stronger - let's BE the Village.


Sometimes I question if what I'm doing is the right thing. I watch my teen and young adult children in this world, and I see how hard it is for them to follow the standards that our family has set for them: for them to be kind, caring, compassionate. But, have I taught them at a cost? 

Since they were born, I have been whispering in their ears, "You were created, because our world demands your place in it." As they grew older, my whispers turned into words spoken out loud, “Be kind in this world. “

I want my children to believe that they are here because this world needs them. But I see how this ethic and this wish for the kind of humans I want my children to be, sets them apart from the way their peers work their way through the world. Have I made my children too compassionate? Are they paying the price for my conviction?

I see how they are out of step because of the voice of their conscience. The small voice I planted in their head so many years ago goes against the grain of everyone and everything else around them. I see them stumble, fall, repeat the words that their friends are saying and saying the things that they hear in school. Even though I want them to rise above all of this life in the digital age of their cyberworld, my heart clenches. Am I making them too different from the world that's around them, the one they long to be part of and accepted in.

I know the self control it takes to not lash out and tell me how I hold them back, how others say and do things and that's just the way it is. This is hard not just for them. When they're the ones who are the recipients of unkindness, ridicule, ostracizing, and belittling because they won't go with the flow of the culture, it's not just them that feels the stab of being out of step. When they are teased, and I receive their frustrated tangle of emotions, “See how you like it!” is shouted back to me. I tell them I am sorry. Sorry that this has happened to them, but not sorry for the message I will keep saying. Be kind.
I can't change the way the world is spinning for them and what is becoming standard for young people growing up today with everyone's lives available, there, for the crushing and the taking, online. It's fast, and words along with actions spread like fire. No longer do things get said one person at a time, as it was for me when I was their age. Now it's thousands at a time, with images as proof and their lives documented without their permission. Then it's multiplied by thousands more.

I can only tell my three boys that I understand, and that I wish it were different. That I wish there were no people to wound others with their words, no unfairness of gossip, no injustice of exclusion, no crimes done against each other.

The rule we live by will never change, I am holding fast to that. “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you." This is no easy task because it requires to think of the feelings of others and the power of your actions and words either for them, or against them. It means feeling the unfairness of those who are mighty and shouldn't be. How there can be coldness in the internet world they live in. It isn't fair, and I know it's damn hard to not do back when something has been done to you.

My children may think that I don't care about what they tell me. That I'm deaf to what they say and that I'm more hung up on having them do as I say than understanding their lives. I do care. It hurts me when I see what is happening to them and their friends online. Children, so young, unable and not equipped to find the way out of the dizzying speed of bullying and hate on the internet. But we have to always lead with kindness, begin with kindness, and end with kindness. We can't change the ugliness that is rearing its head on the internet unless we become the movement of saying no more.

Since they were old enough to understand words, the three that we've taught them to memorize are, "kindness, kindness, kindness." We would repeat these words to them until they came automatically in their conversations. When my son was three years old we had gone to the park, he had brought his favorite truck along. There was another little boy there who suddenly decided that he wanted the yellow and blue truck for his own and picked it up, running away with it. I watched my small boy pull himself up on his small legs and run after him calling out, "kineness! kineness! kineness!"

My heart sank to see my son expecting that little boy to know exactly what those words meant.  

Am I doing the right thing, to teach my three boys to be kind, no matter what comes our way?

Sometimes I cry, I don't know if what I taught my children leans too far in the direction that will keep them different, separate, alone. They are my beautiful boys, and they matter to me more than anything I've ever felt. I have to believe, they have to believe with me, that kindness is the ONLY thing that matters in the life we've been given.

Kindness is the way we will live in our world. We will meet life head on, weathering the weight of disappointment, and bearing the cost of not fitting in because we will not forget how others feel. We will stand together, my children and I, and I will not doubt what we can do. We can change the world by being the change against the tide of indifference. We are here to embody concern, support, care, human being to human being. Because the world we live in, needs us in it. 


  1. I think that teaching, encouraging and even demanding kindness is something we should all do. Because there are far too many bullies in this world.

    1. Yes, and how I wish everyone concentrated on this.

  2. Your boys are my boys a few years back and I too was wondering in my post if I was doing the right thing by nurturing their overly active sense of compassion.I don't have an answer, but reading your post, addressing the same, was empowering. Kineness just put the hugest lump in my throat and I don't know of those are tears of sadness or happiness that I'm suppressing. I guess that such is the nature of compassion:-)

  3. Ah... The Golden Rule!! I want to immediately tell you, that there is never anything that is wrong with this beautiful and giving lesson, the second greatest commandment never steers us wrong! Being kind ALWAYS wins. Because, in the end- when your kids are toward the end of their lives, they will look back and realize THIS is most important. Not getting the last word, or keeping up with the crap at school, or getting revenge for an offense- NONE of that will matter. None of it. What will matter, is how they were able to respond. They will be at PEACE, because their mama taught them them to be kind...

    These might be the tough years, but if you think of your own life (I think of mine)- looking back at all the times I CHOSE to be kind instead, well those are my greatest highlights of my history. I'm guessing they are yours too.

    Even when kindness is fragile, wounded, vulnerable, scorned...

    It still wins.


  4. we plant the seed in our words and a actions and we wait...some seed takes...and some does not...and hopefully all times i have carried mine along to cut the grass of a neighbor...or fix up something...or bought a meal or....hopefully some of that sticks...

    1. I believe it does, Brian, because I remember all of the things my abuela used to do. I remember.

  5. I believe your instilling kindness is absolutely the way to go. They will rebel of course, but when they get older, they will return to the roots they know, and they are comfortable with. Kindness will not feel unnatural to them. Thank you for raising your beautiful boys like this.

    1. My aim. To be the voice in their conscience. Thank you, Tess. xo

  6. Agh. If only we could present to our children the world as we would have it. I am grateful for people like you, who teach kindness--something we don't see enough of.

    1. Thank you, Natalie. Sometimes it feels so lonely, and I see how different my kids are from others.



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