14 June 2010

Me, Myself and I?

We had an "incident" in our home today which turned out to highlight what I'm thinking is a bigger problem. My child was given a little Poodle-Japanese Chin mix puppy a few months ago. His name is Starbuck and he is arguably the cutest puppy around (don't tell my dog, Mr. Frodo the Shiz Tzu). While his cuteness is undeniable, his stealth is downright lethal. I've tripped over him (including a painful tumble down the stairs), stepped on a little paw a time or 2. He's little- 7 lbs, and won't be getting any bigger. We will adjust & pray he lives a long life.

This morning, however, my little one stepped on the little one...and broke the dog's leg. Drama ensued. I had to take the day off from work, stay with the pooch, take him to the vet. $500 later, he'll be home- in a cast- some time tomorrow. All a part of parenthood, I say (as if I really know).

Here's the rub: My child is upset. Not because she accidentally stepped on the dog & broke his leg, but because no one feels bad for her. In her words, "people are only concerned about stupid Starbuck and his stupid leg." Well, yes. We are all concerned for the 7 lb defenseless creature who is in agony. But the more we've talked about it, and the more I think about it, I'm troubled.

Not about the dog, mind you. He'll heal & life will go on (probably w/ dog health insurance). But as a parent, where am I failing to teach my child about the importance of others? I know this incident is all about a silly animal, but truly, how does one teach selflessness? Is it inherent in some and not in others? Do we need to exercise our souls the way we do our bodies? I'm not implying my child is without empathy or feeling- she is loving and caring and I wouldn't trade her for all of the gold in the world. But as I look around, I see too many people with what I am naming "ME Syndrome."

As a society, as individuals, as parents, how do we teach one another to be our brother's keeper? I'm not implying we need to be busybodies, but there is definitely a need to seek to aid those other than ourselves. Albert Einstein said, "Only a life lived for others is worth living." To me, this sums up what I was taught as a child and how I try to live as an adult. But I'm not sure how to distill this to another living, thriving, strong-willed being. I will lead by action and word, and perhaps leave the rest to divine intervention. 

Maybe I'm alone in this thinking. Maybe I'm jaded by what I see. But I can't help but think- the world does not revolve around individuals. Its a pet peeve when people glibly "joke"- ha ha, it's all about me! Its not. Its about all of us, how our lives touch those of others. We're all in this together. If only we could truly understand and live the principle of losing self in the act of loving and serving others, I can't help but imagine how different the world would be. I'm no saint, not even remotely close, but I sure as heck am going to try to be more empathetic, more patient, kind and out-reaching to others, if only to teach my child the lesson that will ultimately bring her, or anyone, true joy.

In parting, a great quote, by a great man: "Perhaps when we face our maker, will will not be asked, 'How many positions did you hold,' but rather, 'How many people did you help?" Prophet Thomas S. Monson. Here's to those around us, whom we have yet to meet and or serve.

1 comment:

  1. Bebe...Why didn't you mention anything about me as your favorite friend...I mean don't I count? What about me? Bahahahha...I'm teasing but that is very disturbing to hear about your little one. Nonetheless a VERY thought provoking post. One that I obviously don't have a good answer to without sarcasm which mind you is a cheap form of wit because let's face it...i'm not witty. :)