An Optimistic View in a World of Hate
With each new year comes hope that humanity learns from its mistakes of the previous year and that things are bound to get better. The optimistic view is to believe that all people have at least a glimmer of light within them. Yet, the incidents of hate crimes, abuse, animal cruelty, shootings, terrorism, and bullying continue.
The recent news story about Chicago teens who tormented a special needs classmate brought this forward once again. Their mistreatment of a fellow student who thought they were his friends and their live streaming of the incident showed a blatant disregard for another person’s welfare. It showed an insensitivity to what this abuse would do to him long-term, to his family, and to those viewing their terrible act online. The cold hearts of the perpetrators reflect the biting cold of winter.
Hate Fueled by a Lack of Compassion and Connectedness
This type of behavior is directly related to a lack of compassion, empathy, and connectedness. More and more people seek to connect with technology rather than with each other. Disdain and disgust toward fellow human beings buries the idea of understanding or basic kindness.
In the process of becoming more technologically connected, we have lost our sensitivity toward others. Whether it is due to parents focusing on their devices rather than on the children or because technology is used as a babysitter, there is less connecting and more aggression.
Google this topic to see the myriad studies conducted in the United States and abroad. They concur in that technology and/or a lack of attachment and bonds between parents and children can create detrimental behavioral patterns.
What the Studies Show about Behavior
According to the book, Virtual Child: The Terrifying Truth about What Technology is Doing to our Children by Cris Rowan, one-in-six children has a diagnosed mental illness. This manifests with child aggression and unmanageable behavior increasingly the norm.
Sutton Trust did a study that showed that “infants under three years of age who don’t form strong bonds with their mothers or fathers are more likely to be aggressive, defiant, and hyperactive as adults. These bonds, or secure attachments, are formed through early parental care, such as picking up a child when he or she cries or holding and reassuring a child.” *
What does this do to our society as a whole? It increases the number of young people acting out in aggressive and dangerous ways. Despite having thousands of social media “friends,” with too much social media and technology as the primary way of communicating, there is a sense of isolation.
The Role of Technology in Adding to the Problem
While our strides in technology are miraculous and valuable, the bottom line is that without a balanced approach, technology causes a disconnection from parents and others. That, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle and lack of a connection to nature creates agitation and anxiety.
Without attachments, we have a more difficult time managing stress resulting in increased anxiety and depression. There is also nowhere for this pent-up energy to release and disperse without movement. Without exposure to nature, which helps us to lower blood pressure and feel calmer in general, incidences of anger and outbursts are more frequent. Read or watch the news on any given day. See acts of aggression against animals, the helpless, the young, the old. Others may bully those with special needs whether physically and mentally, and anyone who is different in belief or orientation.
To regain peace, we need to encourage, develop, and act in accordance with three things:
– Compassion: A deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering.
– Kindness: The quality of being warm-hearted, considerate, humane, and sympathetic
– Empathy: Comprehension and sharing of others’ states of being, living, and feeling
Promote Compassion by Modeling Positive Behaviors
So, if you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, an aunt or uncle, or a Big Brother or Big Sister, help promote compassion. Help the kids around you understand others and create empathy within them. Model these behaviors and show the children how rewarding it is to be helpful to others and to make someone feel good. Start early teaching children about these concepts.
Interact with them and help them use their imaginations rather than losing themselves in computer games. Show them healthy ways to manage their stress. Help them connect with and acknowledge their creativity and unique gifts by unplugging from technology and exposing them to the beauty of the world. The smallest creature deserves to be treated with kindness, so demonstrate gentle kindness toward animals. Those already doing these things with their children are likely seeing positive behaviors emerge.
Adult Ways to Promote Peace and Compassion
As an adult, walk in nature; also, play with and hug your pets. Move your body to reduce tension; touch, connect with others with a strict “no devices at the table” rule while at home or out to dinner. Disconnect from technology a few times a week. Volunteer to serve and bring joy to people and animals in need. Treat those around you with compassion and understanding.
By bringing peace to ourselves and promoting inner peace in others through compassion, the world will be a calmer, happier place to live. Therefore, we must teach our youth about caring about the feelings of others and the development of empathy in our adult population. Let us warm our hearts even in the coldest social climate and create the best future we can.
Here’s to humanity’s bright future!
Reference to Study: * https://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S39/59/37A89/index.xml Copyright Diane Wing, all rights reserved
About the Author
Perspective changer Diane Wing, M.A. is the author of six books. She is also founder of Wing Academy of Unfoldment, and host of Wing Academy Radio. She enjoys exploring the mysteries of life and the way people experience themselves and the world around them. Her latest book, The Happiness Perspective: Seeing Your Life Differently, is on Amazon and B&N. Find out more at www.DianeWing.com
Source: OM Times