In controversy, we must strengthen our arguments rather than raise our voices. Shouting and name-calling can’t take the place of clear thinking. So let’s DO better by THINKING better. Reason is only one of our tools, but we’re foolish no to use it.
Chivalry is the spirit that the medieval knight was moved by: willingness to serve in the cause of right and render help to anyone who needed it. It doesn’t demean anyone to be served. And there’s no better service than the service of honor.
Wouldn’t it benefit us if we retained some of our childhood innocence as long as we live, rather than giving it all up in adolescence? In the three senses discussed in this article, the more innocent we can keep ourselves, the better off we’ll be.
Sympathy means we invest a significant portion of ourselves in someone else’s situation. It says, “Whatever you’re feeling, I’m willing to feel also — and I’m willing to put my heart at your service. I will do whatever will encourage you.”
Almost always, “whether we understand” should be dealt with before we turn our attention to “whether we’re being understood.” In the matter of understanding and empathy, there really is a sense in which it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Learning is about doing, and doing is about doing better as each day goes by. The work of the scholar is “to cheer, to raise, and to guide” (Emerson). Isn’t that a scholarship that all of us would do well at least to dabble in from time to time?
“The ability to feel is indivisible. Repress awareness of any one feeling, and all feelings are dulled. The same nerve endings are required for weeping and dancing, fear and ecstasy.” So we need to value the ability to feel, even when it’s painful.
“Later” is a strong temptation. But avoidance of duty only makes matters worse. If an enemy has to be met, it’s better to take the initiative and march out to meet him head-on, rather than cowering behind walls of postponement and procrastination.
We give a great gift when we listen. It’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I have a hunch that listening may be an even greater form. Those who deal with us every day are paid a huge compliment when we just listen.
Of all the things that need protection, people are the most important. In the world as it is, there are all manner of harms and hurts that threaten people. Whenever we can do so without causing a greater harm, we need to defend one another.