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Archive for May, 2013

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NO POST TODAY

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NO POST TODAY

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NO POST TODAY

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As soon as I entered my favorite coffee shop this morning I was greeted by a number of the folks who regularly serve us customers, including the general manager.  I had not visited this store in four or five days and they were concerned that something had happened to me.  This morning I was not only served well — as we customers are accustomed to — but I was cared for, for these fine folks were genuinely concerned about my well-being.  During the next 90 minutes or so I reflected upon ‘serving and caring.’

Because we are imperfect, living paradoxes, we will experience lapses in our being sensitive to others and to their needs AND we will still be able to serve and care.  As a caring parent, as a caring educator, as a caring friend, as a caring writer I have my ‘bad’ days AND even then I can still serve and care.  I can also allow myself to be served and to be cared for.  In order for me to serve and care for another I must ‘see’ the other as a person and not as an ‘it.’  I must also strive to be sensitive to the other’s ‘needs.’  As a parent, for example, when I strove to ‘mold’ my son or daughter into the person I wanted them to be I might say ‘I am doing so because I care for them’ AND in reality I am not serving them or caring for them; I am serving my desires.

If I am to serve the other’s highest priority needs and if I am to truly care for the other I must hold certain beliefs and attitudes and my actions must be in harmony with these beliefs and attitudes.  I also believe that I must be committed to the growth and development of the other as the other (not as I want them to be but as they are as fully human beings).  In short, I must actually help the other grow and develop in healthy ways; I must be willing and able to help them grow and develop the four dimensions that contribute to their being fully human (their physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual dimensions).

In order to determine whether I am caring, I need to observe what I do, feel and intend AND I need also to observe whether the other is growing and developing as a consequence of what I do.  Now, this does not mean that every action of mine must result directly in the other’s growth and development; it is my actions taken over time and taken as a whole MUST contribute to the other’s growth and development.  If there is basically no growth or development, then, whatever else I may be doing, I am not serving nor am I caring.  To put it another way: since my actions should be guided by the direction of the other’s growth and development and corrected by what actually transpires, if the other does, in fact, NOT grow and develop, then I am not responding to the other’s needs and therefore I am not serving the other nor am I caring for the other.

The general manager just stopped by and looked at me and said, ‘We are serious. We care for you.’  I sit here wordless while feeling deeply cared for.

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