Tag Archives: Boo

I Feel Your Pain. . .

I feel your pain. . . but I just don’t care.

Empathy is great. However, on its own, it’s worthless. Feeling someone’s pain as if it were yours does absolutely no one any good if you don’t engage the second, most important, part of empathy.

You must act on your empathic feelings.

Consider this situation:

A young boy near you in the park falls down, skins his knee and starts Empathy is feeling the pain of others as you feel your own, but an often overlooked aspect to empathy, is the ability and choice to act on that empathy and ameliorate the pain others are feeling.screaming and crying and holding his knee. You see this and your knee flashes in empathic pain as you relive similar incidents in your own life.

So, we’re all in agreement that the above constitutes empathy, yeah. What happens next?

You shrug and go back to reading your Kindle. Or, seeing that no one has come to the little girl’s aid, you look around and spot the girl’s mother, who is deeply involved with changing another child’s diaper. You let the mom know that her child is in pain and then offer to help.

Which reaction actually does anyone any good? Well, I suppose the first one could do you some good if it’s a really good book you’re reading, but that’s not really what I’m getting at here.

Realizing someone is in pain and choosing to do nothing about it is, to me, even crueler than not even recognizing the pain in the first place.

What you’re saying is that the pain of other people doesn’t matter to you. And we’re back at questioning whether other people really, truly exist as anything other than NPCs wandering through your staged life.

They do exist. I exist. You exist. I’m not so sure about Rush Limbaugh**, but you get the point.

When you feel pain, when you’re in pain, you don’t simply sit there and let the pain continue. You actively do something to ameliorate your pain, whether that be talking with someone about your bad breakup or removing your hand from the natural gas flame on the stove.

You do something.

Because your parents did their job right, you also possess empathy and feel the pain of others as if it were your own. Since you understand/feel their pain, to consider yourself fully human, I think if your actions can make an impact* on the situation, you must actively do something to end the pain they feel.

Once little dudes and dudettes understand that other people really, truly exist and deserve consideration, they really do internalize the empathy. They begin to live it out. When they see another little kid in pain, they’ll walk over and (as the above picture shows) put an arm around the kid and show support.

It’s only as we grow older that we begin to regress in how we deal with empathy. We begin to ration our empathic responses. We begin to categorize the pain of others as worth less than our own.

Is that really what we want to do? Is that really the legacy we want to pass down to our kids?

Footnotes & Errata

* Note the use of impact as a noun. Because it is a noun. Impact is not a verb. You can make an impact, but you cannot impact something. And don’t even get me started on the abomination that is *shudder* impactful.
** Because no one could really believe what he says and act like he does. I’m almost certain he’s a performance artist doing a long-term installation.

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Boo!

No, this isn’t a lost Halloween post, dudes.

I’m wishing happy birthday to the only niece who was a baby when I first met her.

And issuing a warning. If you live in the Jacksonville area, be very, very careful while driving for the next couple of months. Yes, Boo is turning 16 today and will be allowed by Duval County, the city of Jacksonville, the state of Florida and these United States of America to drive — by herself — whenever she wants to do so.

Okay, standard make-fun of new drivers is over now.

In all seriousness, I’m certain that Boo is going to be a fantastic driver. After all, she’s pretty much fantastic in everything else, so why should driving be any different?

Her name isn’t really Boo, of course. But it’s short for Sweetie Boo, which I started calling her just to annoy her mom, my sister, Tia. The name sort of stuck and I eventually shortened it to Boo.

Once Monsters, Inc. came out and there was a cute, little girl named Boo in it. . . Well, there’s no way I couldn’t not call her Boo after that.

It’s honestly been a tremendous joy to watch her grow up. From the very start, I tried to make sure that I never complimented her on only how she looks or what she was wearing that day.

For me, the first thing I told her was that she was going to be a genius when she grew up. And, what do you know, she’s almost there right now.

Not only is Boo destined to play Division 1 volleyball for some very, very lucky university in a couple of years (she’s already getting scouted and she’s only a sophomore), but she’s taking AP courses, honors courses, you name it.

The girl is good in just about everything you could imagine.

And it doesn’t hurt that she’s somehow managed to overcome the genetic handicap of having Tia as her mother and The Teaching Dutchman as her father. She’s beautiful, both outside and in.

With a quick wit, an infectious laugh, and one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever had the privilege to be around, Boo is the epitome of what young ladies should be.

Those of you who aren’t relatives and who have read this far might be wondering if I am — possibly — a tiny bit biased. And, yes, I fear that I am. But, and let me strongly reinforce this but, I am not wrong in this.

Boo is the daughter I wish I’d had. She’s a daughter to make any parent — or uncle — proud.

I am so excited that I’ll get a chance to watch her grow, mature and flourish as she moves from being an outstanding young lady to a stunning woman, able to dazzle with academic brilliance and physical grace and beauty.

Happy Sweet Sixteen, Boo! You’ve got a wonderful journey ahead. I’m so glad I get a chance to watch you go.

Also a belated happy birthday to her dad, The Teaching Dutchman. Sorry, dude, but it’s her Sweet Sixteen. Just getting older doesn’t really match up. Still, we’re glad you’re here.

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Boo Berries

It’s that time of year again, ghoulish dudes.

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That time of year when we get dressed up and release our inner selves to have loads of fun.

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It’s time to forget there are such things as dentists and doctors as we gorge on candy.

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So head out, dudes and dudettes. Show off your best inner self. Scream to the night and hope it doesn’t scream back.

I’ll see you on the other side.

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