Two weeks ago, Shilo, our 9-month-old, came down with a fever and a bad cold.
At first it was just Shilo not feeling well, then my partner, Jess, and not long after, I picked it up as well.
This was Shilo’s first time getting sick and it was hard for us to see him so uncomfortable, especially without knowing exactly what he was going through. We couldn’t tell if he had a headache like Jess, or if he had a sore throat like me. We could only be there for him, tuning in to his needs and doing our best to comfort him.
Jess and I took turns resting and caring for Shilo — and each other — over the course of 10 days.
It was a challenging time for each of us.
Toward the end of the first week, I began thinking about the time we spend caring for each other.
A friend (thanks, Fabian :-)) shared a podcast interview with child psychologist Alison Gopnik by journalist Ezra Klein with me.
The entire conversation was thought-provoking and a joy to listen to — but one line in particular stuck with me.
Gopnik shared the idea that “we don’t care for children because we love them, we love them because we care for them.”
Reflecting on my first 9 months of fatherhood, I realized how true this rang for me.
When Shilo was first born, I experienced the common-though-rarely-shared sentiment of not immediately feeling a special connection to our newborn. I had a deep sense of responsibility and a desire to care, but not a strong sense of connection — not at that time. But that sense of connection, and a sense of love, grew with time, and with care.
As we explore the theme of Compassion this month at Holstee, I also wonder what Gopnik’s words might mean in a broader sense.
What if our capacity for loving each other, even those we feel distant from or opposed to, was unlocked by the opportunity to care for one another?
To embracing the unexpected paths to love,
P.S. Speaking of kids… we are preparing to launch our first ever product designed especially for children! Get a sneak peek and sign up to be notified of our discounted early-bird launch →
P.P.S. If you want to dive deeper into this month’s theme, our 30-page Digital Compassion Guide includes poetry, philosophy, and a range of activities to help you reflect on the role Compassion plays in your life.
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