A Recipe for Empathy

Someone once said that as soon as we try giving creatures a first name, our attitude toward them subtly shifts for the better – often a whole new perspective.

Example: “That deer (or bug, or other critter) who just demolished your garden: what was his name? Was it George? Emil? Or maybe Martha?”

This reminds me of a recent incident: It was near Thanksgiving time last fall, as my brother John and I were leaving church, the crowd of folks around us were soon roaring with laughter, hearing us teasing each other. It went something like:

“OK John, so which one of your flock of 21 turkeys are you roasting for our Thanksgiving dinner? Is it Herb? Or maybe Gertie? Oh, please don’t let it be Harold…, etc.”

It can be a fun way of letting folks around us feel how the caring side of their own character can somehow emerge when nameless critters are given first names. And so they may “get it” at a deeper level and more painlessly than from a sermon preached. I dunno….



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