Posts tagged ‘pumpkins’

pumpkin empathy

Echo was feeling chipper and chatty tonight so I grabbed the camera. Earlier in the day we had escorted Kris, Elliott, and Sascha to the dentist for their appointment and I thought she might want to talk about it. It turned out she wanted to talk about the pumpkins decorating the lobby, something that had been bothering her, and I was able to put a little bit of empathy on film.


October 28, 2009 at 5:00 am Leave a comment

i feel so irritated by your feelings

PEAS Farm, missoula

I find it the most difficult to provide genuine empathy when:

  • I am having a difficult time myself (upset about something else, feeling defensive about the feelings the other person is having, etc.)
  • I am hungry, cold, or need to pee.
  • I don’t understand WHY the person is having these particular feelings.

The last one is the kicker. I almost always have to pee, to some degree, and I almost always have something on my mind that provides a bit of distraction, but if I am able to understand why my child, partner, or friend is experiencing their feelings I can cope.

We went to a fantastic celebration at a local farm today to carve pumpkins, drink fresh warm cider, and ride ponies. And Missoula turns out for these things like you would not believe, so many good natured children and parents. The sun was shining. Our coats were off. There was the smell of hay in the air. Basically heaven, in my opinion.

And then, inexplicably, Xi starts to act funny, well scared actually. We sidled up to a picnic table with our farm grown pumpkins to settle in to some good old fashioned carving and Xi was scared. Scared? She didn’t like the goopy pumpkin guts, that part I anticipated and was ready to do all scooping necessary. But she kept saying (and crying) she was scared and couldn’t articulate why. She eventually said she wanted a small round table by ourselves, which of course was not available. I finally put her between Bella and Echo and she calmed a bit, but I was so irritated.

Her feelings felt so inconvenient.

And then the ponies. Ponies! Nope, too scared. Even with essential oils for bravery on her wrists, too scared.

Xi scared

Poor Xi.

It sure can be tricky. You try to summon the empathy even though there are major mental and emotional hurdles to get over. Then you get there and guess what? The kid may still have the feelings. (They may still behave the same way no matter how much empathy you muster.)

So why do it?

Because in her heart, the day she was scared and couldn’t say why, will be recorded. And she was not put on the pony to “sink or swim”, she was not ridiculed or ignored. Her heart will make an imprint of the hugs, the love, and the patience. She may even remember the day as a pleasant one.


October 26, 2009 at 5:00 am 2 comments

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