23 October 2006

4 AM Ramblings

It's a little strange how your perspective changes when you are a parent. Something about the power of visualizing your child in the position of any other child who meets with an accident or untimely demise makes the emotional impact of images and thoughts of that type an order of magnitude more potent. The interesting thing is that I find it is not just limited to cases where there is a simple parallel between my kids and the victims. For example, I've been literally sickened by the carnage in Iraq and in Lebanon for quite a while. But I find that my empathy has extended even to the adults. Particularly the adults who are being kidnapped, tortured and murdered in massive numbers. I can rationalize the death of a soldier in a firefight -- the act of kidnapping an unarmed, helpless civilian and toruring him to death seems inhuman to an incomprehensible degree. I feel sick when I think about it, and it's because I am empathizing with the victims. I don't think I would have viewed it the same way before I had kids. I was a lot more dispassionate in my outlook then.

5 comments:

  1. Having a child brings your soul to the surface.

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  2. I think my experience has been similar. It started with children. I couldn't watch a movie with a kid my son or daughter's age suffering. But I think you are right, it spreads to other humans as well.

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  3. So, so true. The things I could watch before I had kids and since I've had them are remarkably different. And feelings regarding news coverage are are similar too - I just can't watch it anymore, hurts too much.

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  4. I'm an intern in family medicine and I've had a similar experience lately but more locally. I'm on a pediatrics rotation and almost every day a kid comes with something that breaks your heart. Sexual abuse, anoxic brain injury their uncle caused, trying to commit suicide at the age of ten, high on cocaine at the age of one. Every day I go home and hug my daughter harder then the day before.

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  5. Great post. I feel this way often as a pediatrician. I used to do the ER thing but am now in urgent care and the stuff that comes in is heart breaking. We also have close friends that had to move back to Isreal, their native home, and the images shown in Time and Newsweek hit me in my core - and I hope my own kids don't find copies ever.

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