“True compassion means not only feeling another's pain but also being moved to help relieve it.”
Tim is walking in the street with his 5 year old daughter. His daughter is holding a large helium balloon that she was given earlier in the day. The balloon is so big and it makes her so happy.
Suddenly, the young girl loses her grip on the balloon. It flies away towards the clouds.
Tears freely flow down this young girl’s face. Cries emanate out of her mouth.
Her balloon is gone and she feels loss.
Loss is not something that she has really felt yet in her young life.
Her crying continues getting louder and louder.
When one wants to help there are two steps one needs to take before assisting.
1. Identify the problem
2. Offer a solution
Most people in this situation would identify the problem as the lost balloon and the solution would be to purchase another balloon (and in a case where a new balloon cannot be purchased, they’d either make a promise or try to fight the feelings of loss).
But the problem isn’t the lost balloon. The problem is the feeling of loss.
Rather than trying to “fix” the problem with a new purchase, fix the problem by showing your child compassion. Allow them to cry. Be there with them. Enable them to share their feelings (yes, even at this age).
Life will present many teaching opportunities, many opportunities to bond with your child. Don’t run away from these opportunities, embrace them.
Not every problem is what it appears.
You can’t properly solve the problem if you’ve misidentified it.
It is more important that we give our children our time, our attention, our listening ear and our compassion than it is to give our children money.
Giving a new balloon would only have pushed the problem to the side, it would not have solved it.
Pushing problems to the side (if it works at all) only works in the short term.
Never forget, kids are a long term investment.
Stop using short term interventions on long term investments.
Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.
To speak with Yisroel about speaking at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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