I once read a behavioural psychology experiment that I think about often in my work. Researchers gave kindergarteners dolls that needed to be fed and changed regularly or they would cry. The children cared for their babies well, tending to their needs when they cried, hugging them and loving them.
The researchers then changed the settings. No matter what the children did, the babies would continue to cry. The results? The crying dolls were soon abandoned. These children did not lack empathy for their dolls, but rather, quickly became distressed themselves.
We talk about relentless compassion here at the Mission. Despite our very best efforts, we don’t always win. When working with people who are suffering, it can seem like no matter what we do, the doll still cries. The temptation is to give up, throw our hands up, and seek our own self-soothing.
Instead of losing our empathy, we remain committed to showing relentless compassion. At the end of the day, we have to know that we never gave up on a single person. Empathy for all. Always.
I hope you see how your empathy for others has been making an impact in our community as you read on. Enjoy!
For the love of all,
Executive Director, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission