Empathy and Exchanges


"Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another."

The parking lot, the edge of the road, the halfway point, at a convenience store, the meeting spot, it does not matter, it all means the same thing..........

What does it mean? It means the location in which an exchange of your children occurs to so many people. It means watching a piece of you either walk away or a piece of you walk towards you after being away. It's staring at them intently and intensely as you see them for the last time for a few nights, a few days, sometimes a week or more. It's staring at them intently and intensely as they walk towards you to see their smiles, to realize they maybe grew, or maybe they lost a tooth and you are finding out for the first time. My heart, it physically hurts when these exchanges occur and I have witnessed many in the past and actually talked a dad through one before. But, today at a local convenience store I watched from a distance - the gut wrenching exchange. The dad as he waited for the arrival of his kids. Did I know him? No. But, I knew the look. I knew the stance. I knew the facial expression. I just knew. I didn't watch to make him uncomfortable, I watched and my heart went out to him, in my head I gave him a hug, but mostly I thought to myself I want to tell him, "enjoy every moment you have with them, whether it is a night, day, or week, because before you know it, you will be back here doing the same thing, the exchange of children."

"Our children are not our possessions, when you say things like that you imply they are things, not humans."

It's tough for us as adults/parents, but try to see this through their eyes, feel through their hearts: the children. In the end, do your children/my children really want to be exchanged? Most I would say no, but it is my reality/your reality/the reality of many and we need to not just look at them as humans, we need to treat them as such. If we see them as humans not objects, treat their hearts as such, and have empathy for their situations we will create young people/adults with their own capacity to have and understand empathy.

To the next parent at that meeting spot (hundreds of people are probably at their exchange spot as I compose this).....I feel for you, I understand, and I have empathy for you. Give your children a hug at both exchanges, smile at both exchanges, tell them you love them at both exchanges, but mostly support them and understand they have emotions at the "exchanges" too.

"Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another."

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