Slow Down For Peace

fatboyke (Luc) / / CC BY-NC-SA

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to be compassionate while you are in a rush?

When I am in a hurry, I get this feeling like I am leaning forward and I need to keep moving not matter what. When something inhibits my progress I get tense, frustrated, and, sometimes, angry.

My sons seem to slow down on purpose when they sense that I am in a rush. Like many of you experienced parents have told me over and over, our children are here not just to learn from us, but also to teach us.

After numerous episodes of screaming, time-outs, and dragging, I’ve finally learned to slow down. Does it really matter if my son is late to kindergarten? Will it adversely affect my 3 year old’s brain development if he misses one “Circle Time” at his preschool?

Part of the problem is that I’ve always been a very punctual person. Even when I was 12 years old, I used to get up at 4 am to deliver newspapers because one crazy old couple insisted that I “porched” their paper by 5 am. I prided myself on my punctuality.

Can you hear the problem? Pride, ego, inflexibility.

My new goal is not to be a punctual person, but a compassionate person instead. A famous study called the Good Samaritan experiment conducted in the 1970s suggests how being in a rush decreases compassion. Seminary students at Princeton University were assigned to deliver a talk on the Good Samaritan. On their way to the presentation, the students passed a person slumped over and groaning. Only 10 percent of the students stopped to help when they were late, while six times as many helped when they were not in a hurry.

We live in a world that seems to be running on fast forward 24/7/365. One of the reasons I choose to meditate everyday is to disconnect from the rat race. I can tell the days that I need to meditate more because I hear a voice in my head say, “Maybe I’ll just sit for 30 minutes today; I’ve got so much to get done.” Will shaving 10 minutes off my meditation really make the difference in accomplishing everything I “have to do”?


“Chill, Daddy. It’s only kindergarten.”

Much of my stress to be productive stems from my future goals to be able to provide for my family. But what good is providing money for my family if I cannot shower them with compassion? I don’t want to be that stressed-out father who buys his son the biggest ice cream cake available without realizing his son is lactose intolerant.

I’m not saying we should be irresponsible and show up late for everything (No, Honey, I’m not talking specifically about you). But on the days where you happen to be running late, what if you chose to cultivate compassion for yourself and others? What if you drove slower than the speed limit and let other cars in your lane. You’re already late. What is a few more minutes going to save?

I say we schedule in buffer time. We can call it compassion time. When I pick up my son at school, I put aside a good 30 minutes for playing around, throwing paper airplanes, saying goodbye to his friends, and talking about dead bugs on the sidewalk. Yesterday, his teacher looked stressed and asked me if I could help re-arrange the classroom for a presentation. Since I had buffer time, I helped move tables, vacuum the floor, and arrange chairs. Maybe next time my son is late, she will show some compassion and let him slide. 🙂

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.

Do you think about punctuality or compassion on a daily basis? Are they compatible? Why or why not? Please share.




56 comments on “Slow Down For Peace

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to think about / practice / write about htis topic! Yes, it is so incredibly true that when we are stressed, we tend to stress out others, and add to the problem instead of making it better. The change really does start with oneself: recognizing stress and dealing with it so we can go on to deal with other people in a compassionate way. Namaste!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, Anne, stress leads to less compassion which in turn causes others to be stressed. If we are more compassionate with ourselves and with others, maybe we can be more understanding when people are late. Or at least we will react with peace when we tell them that it is not acceptable to be tardy on a regular basis. Thank you for reading and commenting. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  2. C.K. Hope says:

    My daughter doesn’t operate on “regular human” time. She’s always focused, of course, on everything except what she’s -supposed- to be focused on (she’s 8 and it still takes up to 20 minutes to get into the car). I’ve always been pro-non-rushing (rushing or feeling rushed makes me anxious, so I can relate in a way to my daughter) I’ve always given myself an extra half hour of cushion, with her I’ve learned to give us an hour. 🙂

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love the use of the word cushion, C.K. It softens the journey. Your comment reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, “Don’t overestimate your ability to change others; but don’t underestimate your ability to change yourself.” I will start planning larger cushions and change my schedule rather than rush my kids. To tell the truth, one of the reasons we get in a rush is because I try to blog in the morning when I should be getting them ready. 🙂
      {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • C.K. Hope says:

        I attempted to reply from the dashboard but geez, it’s buggy and apparently never made it! Don’t be too hard on yourself, I think most of us here are guilty of trying to blog when we should be doing something else 😉 No one’s perfect! The most you can do is learn from experience and revise what doesn’t work.

        If my daughter is late to school she gets written up and I start getting notes home informing me I need to call a meeting with the school staff so they can explain how important her education is (I’m talking she walks in a second after the bell rings, kids are still hanging up their bags!) and so they can teach me time management skills; she’s been late 4 times all year. I always call and let them know I’ll be sure to bring the horse since he’s the one that escaped (again) and had to be dragged back to the barn and obviously could really benefit from such a talk seeing how he totally disregarded any thought to Sam getting to school on time in his bid for freedom. They don’t think I’m as amusing as I do 🙂

      • Kozo Hattori says:

        Haha, CK. Would love to see the horse at that meeting. Yes, schools seem in a rush to “educate” our children. My son is in kindergarten and he already has 18 pages of “optional” homework everyday. He just started his schooling, and he has told me repeatedly, “Daddy, I don’t like homework.” I hate to tell him that he has 16-20 more years of this.
        Maybe those parents who home-school know something we don’t. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  3. Compassion is like my skin, I can’t seem to make it leave me as weird as that may sound and the odd thing is it often turns into sorrow within myself and brings inner turmoil within because when I need compassion, its hard to find. Thank God for family and heart friends. I know you will find your even balance and Sparkel Like a rare jewel because you have awareness .

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love how much compassion your ooze, 1G4AW. My wish for you is to aim that compassion at yourself. You can always find compassion if you give compassion. You just need to redirect your own compassion at yourself. I have noticed how hard self-compassion is for women in our Patriarchal society. There are so many images and ideologies that tell women that they are not good enough. The Dove soap commercials are great at pointing this out.

      Kristen Neff has done great work on self-compassion. It is no mistake that a woman leads the march towards self-compassion.

      I am so glad you have family and heart friends to give you what you need. I hope you consider me one of those heart friends. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • You are indeed a heart friend!! I was waiting for your response because you always help me understand things I can’t seem to wrap my mind around. You have given me much to contemplate. THANK YOU!!!! (((Mega Hugs)))!!!

  4. Great reminder to slow down and doing it with compassion sounds like a wonderful adventure. Time passes by so quickly so taking the time to enjoy it is a MUST!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      So true, RT. I would hate to be that parent who constantly rushes their children and then asks, “When did my kids become adults?” I try to constantly remind myself to enjoy the now. Enjoy the potty training because it will never happen again. Enjoy the soccer games that look like a mob because they look so cute in their soccer outfits. Time does pass so quickly, why rush it? {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  5. twindaddy says:

    I think about punctuality on a daily basis because I’m always running late. I would love to forget about punctuality, but sadly neither the kids’ school nor my employer will let me. So I don’t get to be compassionate in the morning otherwise the school will eventually press charges….

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Haha, TD. I know how you feel. I took my son late to his soccer practice and the coach told him/me “You CAN”T be late to soccer.” I was thinking, “First, he’s 5 years old. Second, this is a recreation league. Third, you aren’t even a real coach; you are a parent volunteer.” Needless to say, I didn’t say a word.
      Our school is the same. They make you feel really guilty for being late. I’m not sure if they will press charges, but they do demand an excuse. One day I’m going to take my son late and just say, “We saw butterflies.” {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • twindaddy says:

        One of the twins is already in the truancy program because he takes too long getting from one class to the other so I can’t afford to drop him off late to school. They’re already put him in the program so I’m sure they’ll press charges. Ugh…

      • Kozo Hattori says:

        Tardiness=truancy nowadays. Wonder what they do with the kids who smoke pot down by the river? Things are so regimented. If your child does not read, then s/he can’t go to 1st grade. WTF? When I graduated kindergarten, all you had to be able to do is share the blocks and take a nap. It makes me think that kids don’t have time to grow up anymore which is why they come back and live with their parents after college. They are still infants.
        Hope your son stays golden and keeps dancing to his own beat. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • twindaddy says:

        I don’t mind him having his own beat, but I do expect him to follow the rules…

  6. You should sit in mediation for 20 minutes every day; unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour. – Zen saying 😉

  7. Dieu says:

    I think sometimes we are in such a rush to get from one place to another, to be productive, we forget to even breath!
    I like being punctual, but I also think we should live in each moment. For me I just have to give myself time to enjoy the quiet moments, like savouring a cup of tea at night.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Love it, Dieu. Tea meditation kind of like Tea Ceremony. Yes, it is hard to breath sometimes which is why I focus on my breathes during meditation. Would love to savor a cup of tea with you sometime. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  8. lauriesnotes says:

    I love this. I couldn’t be more with you. We have skipped preschool all together more than once and have decided being late is better than being upset. I grew up the other way. I have learned to say no and let go of what others might think. I think my daughtrr has learned some important lessons this way. I hope she will continue to listen to her body and slow down and rest naturally.
    It’s not a perfect science. Today we may have been
    moving too fast. She bonked into a table corner and
    we spent the afternoon icing a to be black eye. Skipped dance class.
    Great post.
    Much peace-

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Yes, Laurie. I’ve noticed that when I rush, I end up hitting obstacles that would not have occurred if I slowed down. All the car accidents and traffic tickets I’ve gotten happened because I was in a rush or someone else was in a rush. Sometimes it is not that drastic. It could be a stubbed toe or spilled water. Either way, it is never worth the loss of peace of mind. Hope your daughter’s eye is ok. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

      • lauriesnotes says:

        It’s a challenge to slow down the way the world is right now, but we can do our part. Checked out the little one’s eye at the doctor. All is well. -just have to have to accept a shiner for a bit. Safety corners back on the table. 🙂
        Thanks for the thoughts-

  9. Geo Sans says:

    I think there’s a

    huge link


    my schedule starts

    super early

    organized either the night before

    of first thing in the morning


    this is the only time

    I allow myself

    to worry, sort things out



    of the best pieces

    of advice

    I ever received …


    over prepare


    go with the flow


    always easier

    to flow

    with multiple options


    in one’s back pocket

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Great advice, Geo Sans. John Wooden always said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” I think one of the reasons kids like routine is because things are prepared for them. I am having a tough time balancing getting things prepared for my sons and getting things done as a “worker.”
      I also like the idea of multiple options. Will try that this Sunday when we go to church.
      {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  10. rarasaur says:

    I love the idea of compassion time! 😀 Did you ever watch that Superhero show hosted by Stan Lee? In it, a bunch of people are competing to be superheroes. One of the challenges is a timed race, but what the competitors don’t know is that there’s a lost little girl on their way to the end. Everyone who doesn’t stop to help her loses points because that’s not what being a super hero is all about. 🙂 Being compassionate is a feat of super heroism! 🙂

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      That is soooo cool, Rara. I watched some of the Stan Lee videos you posted on your site, but I didn’t see the Superhero show. I’m amazed at how much more Stan Lee has done for humanity. He could have easily rested on his laurels and his fortune, but he continues to try to make a difference.
      Your comment reminds me of the film The Untouchables and the shoot out in the train station. There is a little baby in a carriage right in the middle of the shoot out. That one prop really emphasized how “good” these guys were.
      I’m going to also steal your quotation: “Being compassionate is a feat of super heroism!” You better tweet that before I do. haha. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  11. xwaysseries says:

    This is absolutely true and it happens or it has happened to all of us.. Thank you so much for writing this wonderful post. We should all keep it not just in our mind but deep in our heart each and every moment!

  12. dannignt says:

    My son does exactly the same. He actually stands there and tells me to breathe … He is only 7! 🙂

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Love that your son tells you to breathe, Danni. I’m so delighted to have another commenter from down under. I love your “About me” page. Is that your artwork? It is beautiful. {{hugs}}} Kozo

      • dannignt says:

        Would love it if it were my artwork but alas! I was roaming through the back streets of San Fran and stumbled across this wall art! Gorgeous isn’t it?

        Thanks! Look forward to reading more of your blog 🙂
        Danni xx

  13. diannegray says:

    Another beautiful post, Kozo. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been rushing and I’ve realised that time goes faster (for some strange reason) when you rush. When you slow down and take your time (and enjoy that time) it’s a far nicer experience. I remember when I was a kid my friend’s mother had a plaque on her kitchen wall, “The Faster I Go The Behinder I Get” – LOL, for some reason that has always stuck in my mind 😉

    {{{hugs}}} to you, my friend

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Hate getting “behinder,” Dianne. Yes, it does seem that when we slow down time expands and embraces our journey. I know Einstein said that time is relative, so maybe there is some scientific truth about this statement. Quantum physics will reveal this truth in the near future. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  14. I do think of punctuality and compassion on a daily basis. I feel they do go together, but the thing that doesn’t belong is hurry. When you hurry mistakes happen, things you don’t intend to happen happen a lot more frequently. Most great things, from great art to great food take are not hurried. They are allowed to develop. For me I try to not hurry when I am writing because I only have a short time each day to devote totally to it, I have got to make the most of it. But I try not to hurry, I just try to be thorough and say what I mean.
    Compassion for others is a part of my daily life, I try to assist those in my life on their journey and help them become the best they can be. Thanks for the great thought provoking post Kozo, You are the man!!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love how compassion and punctuality co-exist in your life, Jon. I would venture to guess that in the past, like me, you were more punctual than compassionate. Your comment reminded me that we as individuals need time to develop as well. I often beat myself up that I have come to learn compassion and empathy so late in life, but I had to go through the necessary steps to truly learn these lessons. Like you said, “most great things…are not hurried.” Thanks again for being a true friend on this Path towards love, peace, and happiness, Jon. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  15. Peter says:

    Sometimes I think my name should have been Antecedent because often find myself looking for what which came before, that “something” that caused the current situation, rather than the problem currently at hand.

    Let me share where I’m coming from and perhaps you’ll see why.

    We’re currently working on selling a very unique property. It’s a 90 yr old former schoolhouse that has been used as a private residence for some 30 yrs. We have a buyer, we are committed to doing whatever we need in order to get the deal done and have gotten past the building inspection but we don’t currently know what needs doing and what does not. We had a very similar deal a year ago that fell through at the last minute — so we are at that deja vu all over again moment. One year ago we thought the deal would go through, the home was vacant, and we had moved into an RV — down from 6500 sq ft to 230 sq ft — much of what we owned had been auctioned and sold off. And then about 10 days before closing the deal fell apart.

    Needless to see we’re a bit antsy; ready to do anything within reason to get this deal done; but waiting on people who seem to be quite poor communicators; my fie and I are both people of action and waiting on people who dawdle and dither has been a challenge because in 45 years we have never ditzed around with anything the way this has gone.

    Back to antecedents.

    I know full well that feeling of rushing and all that goes with it. But I stopped dead in my tracks when I read this:

    I say we schedule in buffer time. We can call it compassion time.
    When I pick up my son at school, I put aside a good 30 minutes
    for playing around, throwing paper airplanes, saying goodbye
    to his friends, and talking about dead bugs on the sidewalk.

    This is where I see myself running amok, and I think a great many of my friends. Not that we need to schedule buffer time, but that we have bought into a life where we think it necesary to have our life so full that we cannot be sufficiently in the moment as to realize that playing around, throwing paper airplanes, saying goodbye
    to his friends, and talking about dead bugs on the sidewalk
    are what life is all about for parents and children and that those are the things that we should be planning for and perhaps saying that there are other things in life that are better given up than to give up teaching children to BE.

    I never hear anyone saying that maybe it’s time to GIVE UP things. It’s always about making everything fit. We have decided what needs to be in our life and we’re going to have it that way come hell or high water. But who told us all these things are essentials?

    Most of your readers seem to be current parents; and my days of parenting are not only past, but so are those of my child — the grand-kid will ben an adult herself in 4 months. A lot has changed in the time since my wife and I raised our daughter together. And a long while since I took time off as the primary caregiver for our granddaughter when she was born.

    But changes in society do not mean that life itself has changed. A child’s needs are universal and I suspect that each generation is faced with the same problem: how to put aside the parent’s preconceptions of what parenthood is supposed to be in favor of that THIS child at THIS moment needs. I’m not sure how successful accepting that need melds with schedules. I only know that even in my day the cost of being the parent my child and grandchild needed was to be there for what they wanted at that moment. — and I gave up what I had to to make that happen. Not always as successfully as I’d like to think — I’m flawed just like every other parent. But I found that 10 lbs. do not fit into a 5 lb. sack.

    A retired photographer looks at life
    Peter Pazucha dot Com
    Life Unscripted on WordPress

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I had to really set aside time to read and think about your comment. I am so grateful that you took the time to read and comment in this heart-felt and personal way. I believe that your move from 6500 sq ft to 230 sq ft living conditions has made you a very wise and insightful person. You have learned what is truly “essential.” I am honored that you have shared this valuable perspective on this blog post.
      I believe that all things happen for a reason. I could go into a litany of examples from my life, but let’s just say that my belief in a higher power is not “blind faith.” I know whatever struggles you are going through are lessons that will prove more valuable than any sale. I know that this uncertainty about your property has tested your patience, but maybe that is the point. It seems to me that you have found some peace and wisdom in this situation. What more can we ask for in any situation than peace and wisdom?
      Like I said, I believe that all things happen for a reason. I chose to read you comment at 6 am in the morning when I could not be disturbed. Last night, I read some posts by blogger friends. One of which was written by an amazing retired couple who live a “Nomadic Life” traveling around the world.
      Here is the link:
      This paragraph really struck me:

      “I’m always amazed and delighted by how much of a shift in perspective can occur with just a few minutes of circular breathing and allowing feelings to arise without censoring or trying push them away. From being in the depths of despair to arriving at a whole new awareness of life as it really exists with just a slight shift of perspective. It’s always the same: the mind covers over the truth of whatever is occurring in this ever-present moment with a miasma of fears and lies. Whether it be feelings of fear, terror, sadness or grief, tales of regret and shame from the remembered past, or stories of doom and gloom of the imagined future, the result is always the same: the glorious truth of whatever is happening in this present moment is hidden under a coat of crap. The instant the crap dissolves the truth of life reappears, because it never went anywhere: it’s always here available whenever our minds get out of the way. It is the true nature of being: what is, as it is, without judgments or expectations, the totality of everything in the timeless ever-present moment that we call now.”

      Somehow, I feel like a messenger who was meant to deliver this message to you. Take it with a grain of salt.

      I really appreciate your advice on parenting. I love the way you question the modern rat race: “I never hear anyone saying that maybe it’s time to GIVE UP things. It’s always about making everything fit. We have decided what needs to be in our life and we’re going to have it that way come hell or high water. But who told us all these things are essentials? ”
      I am starting to realize that “giving up” or “surrendering” is a courageous act of love and acceptance, rather than cowardice or powerlessness.

      Your last paragraph harmonizes with something I was reading yesterday.In “How to Be an Adult,” David Richo claims that “in a good enough holding environment in early life, I learn that it is safe to be myself, knowing and showing my deepest needs and wishes. This happens in a family with an embrace wide enough to include all of me. Given such a welcome in the world, I gain a sense of stability and coherence, and I develop a reliable source of self-support, a nurturant inner parent who knows how to tolerate my feelings, no matter how contradictory or painful they may be…But not everyone has the benefit of such a childhood. Some parents set rigid strictures on eating, sleeping, clothing, and grooming, all to suit their own needs or standards, rationalizing that such strictures are crucial to a child’s health. In our childhood home it may have felt unsafe to be ourselves. We may have noticed that to be real meant losing the love of those from whom we needed it most.”
      As a parent, I need to give up my preconceived notions of what my child should be like and bask in the joy of who he is in this present moment. I thank you for hammering in this lesson. I have a pretty thick skull and need to hear things more than once.
      Thank you so much for your comment. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • Peter says:


        I thought the comment from Nomadic Life hit some nails on the head. Thanks for the referral.

        So also, your comment about your faith not being blind. I came to my own faith as a result of a very sober evening in the Claridge Hotel in Memphis TN on November 24, 1964. It obviously made an impression on me if I remember the date 49 yrs later.

        I was attending a conference at age 16 and you can read stories about people struggling with angels and have doubts about their veracity but I’m here to say that that experience and others like it have made me who I am, day by day, hour by hour. But that is a different story.

        Peace is an interesting thing. You can be at peace in the midst of turmoil, or troubled in the midst of calm — peace is never a function of anything external to self. Well, it’s never a function of anything external to our personal source of peace– God, faith, meditation, whatever.

        In our personal situation we have done and continue doing what we can to keep the sale moving forward. So, from that aspect we can rest confident in our own Path.

        What we can rely upon from others is a matter of telling the future. I don’t know about you, but I have always found that my foresight stinks. There is nothing guaranteed about this human life. Not about self, not about others, not about circumstances. A heart attack could take either of us in a moment — so any planning I do for the future is on some levels sheer hubris. But of course if we have children, or a spouse we must plan ahead. It’s the “how” we do that which trips up a lot of us.

        I don’t have as much contact with parenting parents right now, but over the years it has seemed to me that a lot of parents have parented in ways opposite the way they were raised. Spankees abhor physical discipline, omnivores allow picky eating, ADD parents…. well, you get the idea. And I have seen grand children revert away from the way they were raised in favor of something more similar to their grandparents techniques. Life is wonderfully circular. I have yet to figure out where all the self-help books come into play but I’ll leave that for someone else to figure out. I’m a firm believer in the idea that for each person: “Normal is what we grew up with.”

        My generation has been called the “Me” generation because a lot of us did things like having children not because we wanted a family, but because we wanted “the experience” of having children — quite a difference in my book. I’m not trying to figure out what this generation is doing about parenting — I have my hands full just living my own life, and watching my family grow up to be who they need to be.

        Which I guess is really concluding thought. I only had one daughter. But looking at friends who had multiple children there is the distinct reality that children will be who THEY are, and not anyone who we think they should be. The mystery of personality is deeper than human wisdom, but it’s not surprising that parents would want to “create” children in their image — just was we have been created in the image of the Power who created us. That Creator was smart enough to let us find our own path…

        Blessings and peace,

        A retired photographer looks at life
        Peter Pazucha dot Com
        Life Unscripted on WordPress

  16. That is so true, Kozo!

    People get aggressive towards one another because we are always in haste.
    Haste, stress, make us breathe fast and shallow, and as a result our blood and brains lack oxygen and we feel like others around are stealing this oxygen from us…
    So we either get verbally abusive or passive-aggressive towards each other, or compensate the oxygen and relaxation lack by cigarettes and sweets… Or being violent (which is also sort of an addiction)!

    Sometimes all it really takes, is just to slow down and shut up for just a couple of minutes and inhale some air… It’s there all around us, enough for everyone around!

    Breathing deeply.. sounds ugly trivial, but works mad miracles!

    Simply having learned to inhale deeply when i’m unrelaxed let me quit smoking after 10 years of practice )) and cut every argument with my close ones, because when we slow down and breathe, we actually hear what others say and feel.

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love your biological analysis of slowing down, Sofia. You are so wise. Yes, if we just realized that we have an abundance of air to breathe, we would be grateful for every moment rather than coveting more from life and others.
      i love the mad miracles that are possible by breathing deeply. I am so grateful every time I see your name and face pop up on my reader. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  17. Peter says:


    This post got me thinking and there’s something I’d like to throw out there…

    You used the term “compassion.” From your context I saw that word primarily as it applies to (your) children because children were a big part of the context. I too have used the word that way; had I written the sentence I might have used the same word.

    So I looked up the word. I find myself doing that more and more lately; I realize that after a lifetime I sometimes associate connotations that are different from a word’s denotation.

    compassion: Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

    What strikes me is the superior/inferior relationship which lies at the heart of “compassion.” Personally, I don’t think about compassion that way, but the idea that you or I have the right to judge someone else’s situation is an assumption of superiority.

    We may be parents with more experience than our children, but that does not make children lesser people. I was not a lenient parent — I believe/believed in rules and standards. It was always hard for me to accept our daughter for who/what she was. There are a lot of things I would have liked her to do differently. And I had to keep checking my own behavior to make sure I wasn’t assuming that my longer life gave me the right to demand of her more than I demanded of myself. There are rules and standards of behavior all the way through life — I never second guessed the standards — but I had to allow her personality to work upon those absolutes in her own integrity. That meant we had differences of opinion which we worked out; and not always with a “because I said so.” In fact listening to her point of view became the reason we are still incredibly close as she works her way through her 4th decade.

    The parental assumption of superiority demeans the child. Children are not lesser humans, they are just younger. Infants demonstrate personality even before they are laid on momma’s tummy in the delivery room. Pre-natal kicks and bumps, and elbows are expressions of personality too.
    But a child with personality is a threat to a parent who does not yet know who they are. And people (parents included) love control. Presupposing that we can have compassion because we know more or better than our children is a dangerous trap. The child who looks up at us and catches us in our behavior may be too young to make a moral judgment — it doesn’t take morality to know when a parent lies to them, or is hypocritical. They are trying to make sense out of inconsistent behavior and that comment, “But mom….” or “But dad…” is simply an attempt to bring contradictions into agreement.

    I need to be more accepting of others. I need to guard how eager I am to judge them.

    Anyway… thanks for provoking a good think……

    A retired photographer looks at life
    Peter Pazucha dot Com
    Life Unscripted on WordPress

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I agree with you that parents need to allow their children to become who they need to become. I applaud you for how you checked yourself when raising your daughter and hope to have the same closeness with my sons in the future.
      In regards to compassion, I took a cultivating compassion course in which they differentiated between compassion and pity. When we pity someone, we often look down upon them in a condescending manner. The definition of compassion, however, sees everyone as equals. One of the meditations we do says, “Just like me, this person has known struggle and suffering.” When we are compassionate we don’t condescend. Instead, we empathize. At least, that is what I was told. If we forget the words and just empathize and open our hearts to those who are suffering, I think we will do all right.
      Thanks for being such a generous and wise conversation partner. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  18. “But what good is providing money for my family if I cannot shower them with compassion?” That’s such a good point. I have known many families where parents were so busy providing, or even advancing their own careers, that there was no time/patience for compassion.

    I like your idea of making sure I have a buffer for compassionate time. I am really busy lately, and I’ve gotten into the habit of allocating specific, and very minimal, amounts of time for everything during the day. When I’m rushing from one job to another, I don’t allow time to stop and talk with an old friend I encounter (who may need a friendly ear for a minute or two), or to give a genuine smile and a burger to the panhandler I cross almost daily lately…

    Cheers, Kozo 🙂

  19. utesmile says:

    Punctuality has in my eyes nothing to do with rushing. I am always a punctual person and do not like latecomers. I do know sometimes it does happen when it is out of your control. I was brought up to be puctual, real German I say. Still this is one of my fortees. To be punctual i take enough time and get up earlier if I have to for example. It is good time management. I also think children should be taught punctuality, that is my personal opinion. It will reflect later in life, they cannot be late all the time in life at work etc. In nursery it is probably not so important, but ion school I find it is as latecomers also disrupt others in the end. Just imagine a world where everything is late, you cannot rely on people or things being done.
    Compassion, meditation is important but also has nothing to do with punctuality. Good time manangement and taking time for your children , for yourself is important. Set priorities and work that way. There is always time for a peaceful time specially when we are stressed out , it helps to be more efficient afterwards.

  20. Sunshine says:

    okay, Ute brings up good points…being punctual is being compassionate. i mean, if we keep others waiting or cause disruptions coming late, how thoughtful are we? her point about the importance of time management also is right on. if we teach others and ourselves to think ahead and plan to be anywhere on time, excluding unavoidable mishaps, then we would be considered compassionate led human beings. i think about the distraction for actors and those already watching a stage performance when patrons that come in consistently late during the middle of a scene…this is pure selfishness. also, we get stressed because we know how guilty we are so, even if we try to not let lateness concern us, deep down we still feel bad. or at least i do. great post, again…as always…and ☼sunHUGS!!

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      Thank you for these insightful points about tardiness, Sunshine. Yes, we need to be compassionate before we are late. We need to set our priorities and think ahead. If we are late, we need to act with compassion. This might mean missing the first half of a show we are late to and coming in at the intermission. I agree that many act selfishly by forcing others to abide by their time schedule.
      Your comment reminds me of a Dalai Lama quotation that Rara turned me on to: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” We need to be compassionate at all times, even when we are late. {{{hugs]}} for your SunWisdom. Love, Kozo

  21. It’s true that when we feel we are in a hurry that we are literally “getting ahead of ourselves” in the sense that we have left our body and are just in the mental/emotional sphere – about 18 inches to a yard (depending on how much of a rush we are in) ahead of our body. But we can only be whole = in the moment when we are in total sync with our body. It’s as if the computer screen would try to go faster than the rest of the system – the RAM, all the software, the HD etc. When our mental sphere is ‘detached’ from the physical sphere we experience what we call “ego-behavior” – it makes sense, because in the state we are no longer in tough with the Whole and act as a limited, separate entity. What insanity! Good article, Kozo! Cheers! tomas ☼

    • Kozo Hattori says:

      I love the analogy of a computer screen being out of synch with the RAM and software, Tomas. I can feel myself getting out of touch with my body and it does feel like 18 inches. This is probably why meditation is so important to get us back in synch with the Whole. Thanks for the insight as usual. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  22. I meant “in touch with” – in the second to last line 😉

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