May 6

No one cares how much
you know, until they
know how much you care.

Don Swartz


Today's Meditation:

This seems always to have been the bottom line in my education:  I've learned well when it was obvious that teachers cared about their topics and their students, and I've learned poorly when it was obvious that they didn't care at all about either.  When I'm having discussions with people, it is important to me whether or not the other person cares enough to listen when I speak--if not, then just what would compel me to listen when they speak?

Don's words are especially important when dealing with young people.  Someone who's in the process of learning about tons of things--but who also hasn't yet grown to certain levels of independence and responsibility--has a very strong need for people who care in his or her life.  And the knowledge we have to share with them most definitely is secondary, for if we care, they know that, and they will be much more likely to listen when we share the knowledge that we have to share with them.

Sometimes we see someone so in need of "good advice" that we simply skip showing that we care.  But if what we have to say is so important, is it going to have more effect upon a receptive audience, or a defiant one?  If the person we're talking to sees us as being interested only in ourselves, then just how effective is our message going to be?

It's very tempting to share our knowledge and show how much we know.  But if our sharing falls upon deaf ears, then it is rather worthless.  We can have a much greater positive effect on the lives of others by letting them know that we truly do care about them than we can by telling them how much we know.  Any seed needs soil that has been prepared before it can grow to its full potential.

Questions to consider:

How can we show others that we do care for them? 

Why do we so often put knowledge above things like caring?

Think of several teachers you've had, good and bad.  Which ones cared the most?  How did you know they cared?

For further thought:

The more things you care about, and the more intensely you care, the more alive you are.  This capacity for caring can illuminate any relationship:  marriage, family, friendships--even the ties of affection that often join humans and animals.  Each of us is born with some of it, but whether we let it expand or diminish is largely up to us.  To care, you have to surrender the armor of indifference.  You have to be willing to act, to make the first move.

Arthur Gordon

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