Developing care and compassion for others is not necessarily something that comes naturally. It cannot be easily taught in a classroom or from lectures. However, being a caring person is an essential life skill for our own character development and to grow into maturity.
This 5 minute video from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, United States powerfully shows what it actually takes to develop a truly caring and compassionate mindset. As you watch it you will see an unexpected and surprising twist in the lives of the subjects portrayed:
The video was first brought to my attention by John Geater who is International Director of PRIME (an international network of professional healthcare educators, committed to integrating rigorous science and compassionate care for the whole person).
Below are John’s observations on the video. While he writes as a doctor, he makes some important universal insights about getting along side others in their suffering and pain. It is also a good reminder to me about my own attitude when I sit with a patient and/or their family or carer.
“So maybe we could make a more conscious effort to look into the eyes of our patients and see something of their journey. We must of course be careful not to jump to conclusions too quickly, and in some cultures we have to be careful of too direct a gaze, but it is remarkable just how much our inner being can relate to another human being. Some people avoid such relationships under the guise of “professional distance” . When I trained 50 years ago I was told we must become hardened to our patients pain otherwise we would burn out. However, the privilege afforded to us in the caring professions of deep relationship with other human beings, even if only for a few minutes, is something that I treasured during my years of practice.”
The video ends with the following summary of what it takes to grow into true maturity and sober judgement
To have felt insensitivity….. is to be more kind.
To have faced fear ….. is to recognise it in the eyes before you.
And to have fought to live …… is to know how fragile life can be.
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What questions, thoughts and reflections does the video raise for you?