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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Raising a compassionate heart

As a social worker and a yoga teacher, empathy and compassion are always in the forefront of my mind as I navigate through life. I have worked to weave this perspective into my parenting over the years and this week discovered that you really do reap what you sow.

My dear grandmother died a year ago this week. I have missed her greatly, but she had an amazing life and was just shy of ninety when she died. I have been thinking about this anniversary coming for several weeks, but had not mentioned it to my sons.

As the morning of this anniversary dawned I wavered on talking about it with them, not wanting to upset them as they headed off to school. After much thought,  I decided to share this information them because they were so close to her and are such intuitive children that they would know something was up.

As we talked, both of their faces saddened, but neither became too upset. I expected them to say something about how much they missed her, but to my surprise they both responded with care and concern for how I was feeling.

They gave me hugs and then walking stick, with his big lovely heart, said to me, "You know where she is mom...right there." With that he pointed to my heart. As you can imagine big tears rolled down my cheeks. She is in my heart, and in theirs, and her love and kindness will be with us always.

Sharing, teaching, and modeling empathy and compassion are some of the greatest gifts we can give to our children and ourselves. It doesn't mean we never feel angry or frustrated, we just try to use compassion and empathy to work through it and to see what is on the other side.

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