emilie by lake February, the official month of love is here!

The perfect time to share how my 4 year old daughter reminded me of an important way    to show compassion and care for those around us.

We recently enjoyed a day of treats together, including a trip to the cinema to watch the film Penguins of Madagascar.

The film is about an evil octopus who seeks revenge on the penguins who he thinks destroyed his life. In every zoo he inhabited, he got ignored and moved on whenever the very cute penguins arrived. All visitors only cared about them!

After the film my 4 years old girl (above by the lake where we live) looked a little pensive and said:

“I think the naughty octopus was actually sad. That’s why he was so naughty.”

When I asked her why she thought that, she responded:

“Because they took him away from his home.”

I was struck by how early in life we learn how people’s behaviour isn’t always quite what it seems on the surface.

    • When people are sad, disappointed, feel excluded or ostracised they easily start behaving in ways that only ensures that they’ll continue to be excluded and sad.
    • When they feel stressed, let down or upset with a loved one, a colleague or friend, they get grumpy and short and generally unpleasant or awkward to be around.

Yet, we often forget or lose patience with this fact as we grow older.

Resulting in two unhelpful situations easily arising:

  1. Us getting impatient and quickly offended by others’ behaviour because we judge it rather than try to understand it.
  1. Us allowing our own sad or stressful moments making us behave in ways we don’t want to.

We can all think of examples of people who behaved strange or unpleasant in the past (or present). We may have avoided them, thought they’re weird and unfriendly.

What my little girl’s comment reminded me of was the beauty of trying to go back to being a young child exploring how the world works and then have the patience and compassion with each other to scratch the surface and look underneath.

Because of course she was right; the octopus was very sad! And it’s most often sadness that drives bad behaviour.

Most people aren’t fundamentally bad. So if we stop judging those around us, and instead try to dig beneath the surface, we might find there’s a misunderstanding, a relatively easy fix, a way we can make a positive difference to them and ourselves.

Let’s reach out and spread some love rather than judge this February!

The power of compassion as seen through a 4 year old’s eyes
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3 thoughts on “The power of compassion as seen through a 4 year old’s eyes

  • February 7, 2015 at 10:09 am

    What a beatiful post Charlotta, and the relationship with your daughter comes across so special and caring. thank you for sharing. I too can often see how sadness and frustration are misunderstood and actually ‘only’ show a sing for change. The power of approaching it with courage looking into finding our true gifts and potential is immense. but yes sometimes it means going true ‘darker’ moments… but if you look in the dark you can see the stars, right? it’s just about the courage to face it and then it’s all love! let’s spread the love 🙂

    • February 11, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks for your lovely comment Eleonora! Love the analogy of seeing the stars when we look in the dark! 🙂

  • February 13, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Once again its the children that show us the way. There are people who can see under the anger (or whatever it is) and can peel away at it, rather than feel threatened themselves. When I was a year head in a big secondary school I saw this a lot – children presenting with awful behavior who made life miserable for others, often because of the dreadful situations and ‘sadness’ they themselves had to bare. I think of one lad who told me one day, whilst I was covering the ‘sin bin’ that was his second classroom, that ‘back home, he had seen his uncle blown up by a bomb in a car.’

    As they say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’

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