HeartNote, January 21, 2020: Three Year Old Care

Defining the term "Care" isn't as easy as it sounds.

When you grab onto a handful of metaphors, it sounds so cheesy and routine that there really isn't much substance to grasp. When caring is placed in a context of comparative religious or spiritual foundations, one risks disagreement on deeper theological frameworks which narrows the insights presents in the examples of caring.

To care is to give, true. Altruistically, selflessly, yes, we know that. But in an example, in a concrete and universal fashion, there isn't much cross cultural, intergenerational offerings to choose from. Not much that consistently defines a caring act or measure of emotional exchange. Very little that specifically underscores the spirit and the exchange of energy helping us recognize, without much doubt or disagreement, a precise definition of the word "care."

So I'll give you an example that may clear up the confusion.

Watch a three year old with other three year olds. Doesn't matter if you're in India or Indiana, the behavior of their responsive examples to their peers is universally recognized as an example of care.

Kids matter to other kids. At that developmental stage they begin to recognize their individuality in the context of another. They take the first steps on their walk toward a social path, opening themselves to the presence of another. For example, a two year old will often cry if they hear or see another child crying. But a three year old begins to see not only their own individuality from another, but they recognize another's pain. And it is in this developmental stage that they also begin to act to purposefully to comfort another crying child to help ameliorate that pain.

There is no pretense, no ego, not ulterior motive. A three year old that sees another three year old crying will frequently just go over and hug the other child. Both girls and boys do this to other girls and boys. It is not defined by sex. Boys and girls hug boys and girls.

See what happens when another three year old offers to soothe the feelings of their peers. No hesitation, no pause, they just hug their friend.

This sets the example of what we need to do when we see another person it pain: Stop what you're doing, put down your toys, and respond with love and kindness.

Caring is without ego. It sees a need and fills it with love. If you wish to refamiliarize yourself with the process, visit a daycare playground.

And through their example, may you discover the three year old spirit of caring within you again.


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