I Can’t Teach Compassion

photo credit: foshydog via photopin cc
photo credit: foshydog

As the mom who never wanted the job, I never really thought about the fact that you have to teach your kids stuff. Babies aren’t born with the innate knowledge regarding colors, numbers, or the ABCs. Who knew? Well, probably everyone but me, but it never really occurred to me until I started trying to teach Lillian these simple things.

Simple to someone who already knows all of it, that is.

It’s still somewhat bizarre that if I tell Lillian a particular crayon is “blue,” she assumes that’s just what crayons are called. So if I ask, “Hey Lils, wanna color?” she’ll respond with, “Yes! Blue!”

The same mentality comes with numbers. She has a vague concept of what “one” means because every night we have this discussion:

Me: Lillian, you can watch one more Daniel Tiger and then it’s time for bed.

Lillian: One Tiger.

But if I try to teach her how to count from one to ten it goes like this:

One, two, four, eight, four, two, eight!

She’s always very excited when the counting is done.

But I can teach her things. And she’s learning. She can spot the letters “o,” “i,” and “e,” from a mile away. She can tell you what a cow is and what sound it makes. Heck, even Levi, who’s only one, can tell you what a duck says if you ask him.

These are things I can teach them.

What I can’t teach her is how to be compassionate.

Like when I’m sitting in the floor trying not to cry because the kids have put me through the ringer and she comes up to me, pats my head, and says, “Mom? You otay? You otay, Mom? Otay,” and gives me a hug.

She’s even compassionate towards inanimate objects. The other night she knocked over her sippy cup of water. “You otay, water? Otay? Aww, you otay.”

And this… this is the moment where I learned just how sweet and compassionate and loving my daughter is. Her and Levi were sitting on their blanket watching Curious George. I had given then each a snack size bag of Teddy Grahams and, though I had opened it for them, Levi was having a little trouble getting the cookies out.

“Brother? Need help?” She took his pouch, reached in, pulled out a cookie, and handed it to him. “Here, brother.” And again she did it. And again. She did it until all his cookies were in a pile in front of him to easily enjoy.

I can’t teach that. I can’t teach her how to be kind and concerned and helpful without any sort of prompting. Her sweet little heart saw that her brother needed help and she just did it.

I hope and pray that her love and helpful attitude continues to grow throughout the years. I hope that she uses her soft heart to bless others as she blessed her brother. And I sincerely hope I take a cue from her and help those around me without hesitation as well.

One thought on “I Can’t Teach Compassion

  • August 25, 2014 at 10:53 am

    So lovely. We are starting to see this with the littles. N was having a fit and C kept walking over to him and patting his head – then last night, C was upset and basically hug raped his brother, pushed him around so they were facing and then took a hug until he (the hugger, not the hugee) felt better… Some things they just know.

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