Another freshman student loses the battle…to suicide. It’s important we model what compassion looks like for our students. One way it can look is reaching out with a simple hello to someone in isolation…one who sits alone at lunch, never mixing with others before or after class time, or alone in the place where everyone congregates before/after school. Everyone, regardless of age or tough exterior, wants to belong, to be accepted. When a person doesn’t feel a sense of belonging, it can ignite the negative talk inside the head that says, “I’m not valued, I am less, I am not worthy.” And nothing could be further from the truth as any parent or educator knows as fact. If only the individual who is hurting knew it, too. All any of us have to do is start with a tiny hello. Perhaps this simple act of caring becomes the game changer for the one who is in the midst of the struggle.
Listening with acceptance, not judgment, is the most helpful thing we can do for someone. I’ll repeat that last sentence. Listening without judgement is the most helpful thing we can do for someone in need. When do we really feel heard? When do we really hear what someone else it trying to say? We often think we are such great listeners but are we really? It’s hard to comprehend when another person is living in pain if we haven’t detected it, haven’t seen it, or were so busy with our own lives we weren’t able to pickup the signals. How do we tune in better? By making it a daily priority to extend our hearts, hands, and our presence to others. We climb down into the black hole beside the person who is hurting. We see it, feel it, just as they do, without judgement. Brene Brown teaches us we cannot put a silver lining around their cloud. We cannot tell them it will be ok. Instead, we must reach inside ourselves and tap into the same emotion and let the person know, “I don’t know what to say, and it’s tough, but you are not alone.” It is called connection. Human connection.
We all need to BE THE MESSAGE…Of kindness and empathy. Of human connection.
Behavior is an expression of need. How do we honor the people within our reach when they are hurting or broken? Do we climb into the black hole with them or do we avoid the uncomfortable feeling and tell them it will be ok? Are we giving our time and our ears long enough to uncover the root cause of the behavior we are witnessing? We must do everything within our power for a person who feels no hope, sees no tomorrow, believes there’s no escape. Let’s open our eyes and hearts, tune in with our ears and time…and LISTEN. There is no greater feeling than to help another human being in need.
BE THE MESSAGE someone is needing. God gave us two ears and one mouth…to hear more and talk less. Use your gifts for the better. Elevate someone else. Be their blessing.