Letter to the Editor: Empathy is the answer to many of our woes

Reader Trudy D’Armond comments on ageism and the “Golden Rule”.

Ageism is real. It feels as though your experience no longer counts. Wisdom is looked at as frivolous. Respect is too difficult. Communication is a waste of time when having to put up with an “old” person or older people. Aging is lonely and insulting when you are discarded by a younger generation who believe they know better. What does an aging person do when they are intellectually ignored? If they still have general good health, just like anyone else, we move on. We move on in heart, soul and cut the ties that once brought joy and fulfillment to them… and we find another interest. That’s what happens. If you see the light of engagement leave the eyes of an elderly person after being “put in their place”, remember… You will be in that very same place one day. Oh, yes. You will. Kindness and adapting is far more important than being inflexible. Listening is a skill that should not bypass the heart. Listening and really hearing is what will bring back a strength and commitment to all the varying generations. How do I know this? Because I have experienced 71 years of life so full of travel, relationships, heartache, love, losses, tremendous successes, failures and humanity in general that it has softened my view of humanity. I still have hope. I still believe in the goodness of humanity.

I believe my lifetime involvement with community functions and travel have broadened my perception of people. I fully support the joy and comfort people receive when practicing “The Golden Rule.” If their faith holds them up and helps them through difficult times, then they are fortunate. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Empathy is a rich and valuable personality trait to have. If we had more of that genuine care and ability to identify with our fellow human beings, we may be able to connect as a united nation. I am not sitting in a corner singing Kumbaya. I am more realistic than that. I do know and have seen that anger and resentment kills. It puts most people off, but may draw a few more angry souls in that circle of “anger fellowship” if giving a continued platform. Spewing condemnation turns back in on oneself. People remember not what you have given, but what you lack.

A void of empathy kills hope, love and the ability to improve in oneself. It can flow over in the written word and people will remember you not for any wisdom, but for the wanting mindset and inability to think outside of yourself. We are all so alike, yet so different. Don’t let our differences divide us. How we grow in all the ways that matter will reflect on how we treat one another and will mitigate our future.

Trudy D’Armond