Humane treatment for the society of humans
Published 7:56 pm Wednesday, January 10, 2018
How many times have I been watching television when a commercial spot airs about abused pets being left in a shelter waiting for adoption or worse? Every time I see those cute little faces I must turn my head. I can’t watch even though it is a powerful message urging help to prevent cruelty to animals.
How many times do our hearts bleed for the poor defenseless animals that have been discarded or lost? How many times do we turn our heads away from watching those puppy faces because it makes us sad?
Conversely, how do we keep our eyes on the TV when we watch a child who is starving, a child who is without a home, or a child that has been abused? Why do we keep listening to vitriol being spewed and spread like weeds? Why do we keep glued to media that presents actual violent scenes?
In psychology, “desensitization” is defined as the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative, aversive or positive stimulus after repeated exposure to it.
Have I become desensitized to some human conditions? Because the world I see is accepting what we are inundated with on a regular basis, I may be losing compassion for the misery in humanity and, worse, accepting it. I also would wager that if I watched those ASPCA ads long enough, I would begin not to see the suffering and horror.
My conversations are less filtered because I can say anything behind a computer screen and not be seen. Would I say the same thing in front of my grandmother? Are you kidding? She would get the soap and my mouth together faster than I can type this sentence!
Almost 30 years ago, I watched a story about the needs of children in Kenya. I immediately wrote down the number to sponsor a child. My heart was so touched by what I saw, that I acted. Through those years I have had the privilege of assisting two children reach adulthood.
Would I still be as sensitive today? Unfortunately, I don’t think so.
It troubles me when folks watch evil in the world, do nothing and accept what they see. I am bothered that we condone bad behavior in our leaders and in each other.
I have witnessed folks watch children who have been born into horrible conditions and then state emphatically, “Well, those parents shouldn’t have had a kid!” Does that make it acceptable then for the child to suffer? Really? Talk about losing sensitivity.
Caring and sensitivity to others should never become a political issue. Calling someone a “bleeding heart liberal” or a “hard hearted conservative” is again taking acts that are good and throwing them back to the wolves with divisive and judgmental rhetoric.
I often love silence. It is in the silence that I become sensitive to not only my thoughts, but to others dreams. I think about love and purpose. I think about the child, the mother, the father, the friends in need. I even think about the pet who needs a home. It is in this silence when I take time to pray, time to write and find reflection.
However, when I accept a condition and not feel compelled to aid, my heart adds one more layer of steel. When I don’t take the time to reach out to another in need, I add a second layer. When I accept the unacceptable in life without action, I will become stone and my heart will be gone.
When I excuse bad behavior, spread more vitriol and not reach to a child whose hands are begging for mercy, then I might as well chalk myself up to being just chalk. You can erase me with one swipe off the board of life.
When I go onto social media and read what my friends write and share, it is usually about positivity and hope. I have great friends. When you ask, they deliver. I think most folks really want to do good things and make the world a better place. However, I do believe many, including myself, have become accepting of things that God would never accept and tolerant of behavior that he would rebuke.
I don’t know the solution to re-sensitizing ourselves to some aspects of humanity, but I do believe it lies in our kinder voices being heard and our shouts being tempered. It lies in the calming of our spirit, the kindness of a compassionate heart and in the silent part of our soul that hears the whispers of God.
Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.