We should never be too busy to do two things; practice kindness and fight hate. The two are related.
As I have noted on many blog post, practicing kindness is easy and in your own interests, karma works when kindness rules us.
It gets a bit harder when it comes to fighting hate. Here are three reasons why:
- Too dangerous. And indeed if your life is in danger, lying low, not fighting might save your life, but it might not. Think about the divisiveness of the current Ban Gun Wars. Guns kill, but in the right hands guns also protect.
- Too hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. As my friend and cartoonist Doug Savage noted in a recent cartoon, “A stranger is just a friend you do not know or a stranger is as just a psychopath you have not avoided yet.”
- Delusions of personal safety combined with selfishness or despair.
When we were foster parents all the kids placed with us were strangers; 97% repaid our efforts to be kind with kindness. Some to the other 3% would do anything they could get away with and that included stealing, hurting animals, bullying the other children in our care and trying to kill or rape someone. Hard to know who was who.
Our main policy was to trust and be kind. We did not want to know what brought the kids into the courts of law that lead them to be place in a detention center. And yes, we were a “non-secure detention center.” Non secure meaning no locks allowed on any doors. A bit bizarre, but the law and we mostly abided by it.
If you are curious about our life as foster parents, buy my book When Good Kids Do Bad Things. It is also available in eBook both the whole book and then as shorter chapters.
Anyway, we were not without some protection from the kids more wedded to bad behavior by our dog Brutus. He had a second sense when it came to anyone’s intent to do harm. If someone started trouble he was instantly between the aggressor and the intended victim.
He saved me from a knife attack when I went to the door and opened to face the boy friend of one of our girls; he intended to kill us. Brutus was with me and instantly growled menacingly. The kid stepped back and I slammed, locked the door and called 911. It took three policemen to eventually deal with the young man and one almost got stabbed.
Not all the kids into really bad behavior were so easily spotted. Just as the haters in the world today are not always easily identified. So how can you fight hate without turning some more toward hate. Doing so is not always easy as these quotes so.
Emotional fitness tips
Tip one: Do not generalize. This is the logical mistake of lumping people into categories because of the behavior of some. Not all cops are bad, not all hoodie wearers are criminals, not all religions are evil, and so on.
One of my ways to combat hate is to point out generalizations when I see them on the Internet. Does not always make me friends, but I hope gets some people to think more deeply.
Tip two: Be clear about what constitutes “evil.” The ten comments fully understood are a good starting place and if you do not believe in a God, as least believe in a force of good and see the evil in murdering, stealing, enslaving people including forcing yourself sexually on another living creature; and bearing false witness.
A useful and quick interpretation of all The Ten Commandments Still The Best Moral Guide can be found in the book of that name by Dennis Prager. I found it most interesting when reading this that the only sin (violation of the commandments) that could not be forgiven was doing evil in God’s name. This has been inaccurately interpreted as not cursing or breaking vows.
Tip three: In your efforts to be kind and understanding, do not forgive bad or evil behavior. People can be forgiven, but people must also be held accountable when they cross the line and do things that lead to evil or are evil. A mentally ill person might not deserve punishment, but others need to be protected if the mental illness leads to evil behavior.
Tip four: Know when your personal needs and beliefs are over-riding your intent to be kind. This is another error in logical thinking called “The Curse of Personal Knowledge.” This is what often leads to not doing enough to combat evil or help the poor.
Believing the task of bring peace and kindness to the world is too big for one person to accomplish. True, but the more who work toward that end, the more likely the world will grow more peaceful.
Thinking you do not have the time to work toward world peace. Or thinking you already do enough. This is one place one can always do just a bit more.
Tip five: Be grateful for all you have been given and give generously to those who have less. The very rich need to spend generously as well as give generously. Spending keeps the economy strong, gives people jobs.
Thank you for all you do. Thank me by remembering sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting. Your caring keeps me going.
Post inspired by WordPress Daily Prompt Sorry I am Busy. Tell us about a time when you should have helped someone… but didn’t.
Almost every day, for like all of us, I am busy with my own stuff. But I do work to practice kindness often as a way of keeping balance and making amends for my failures
LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (www.emotionalfitnesstraining.com
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)Emotional Fitness Tips for Parents (parentsarepeopletoo.com)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)