I went through what i had written earlier and then some pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fell into place. had a chat with A in the morning and some more pieces fell into place. rather than talking about me, let me write about the phenomena that i saw as a process.
just like the picture, compassion is possibly held in most of our mind as something that always flows downwards. for example, i never really felt compassionate towards my father or any adults for that matter in my young days as i believed (and realised that i still do), that as an adult, you must always be responsible for your acts of omission and commission and therefore if you make a mistake or be “weak”, you must pay a price for it. however, when it comes to compassion flowing downwards, it is often showered on younger people, juniors in status, people in lower social strata compared to us, to the “under dog” and of course to our children.
in fact, i have written exactly that in last blog. i have very “righteously” how we as parents (and of course as adults) must be resposible for our acts of omission and commissions, etc, etc.
it is perhaps a phenomena for a lot of people out there, for who, compassion flowing upwards would be experinced as “sucking upto the powers that be” or at best, it would be sympathy tinged with hidden contempt or criticism. whereas for the “under dogs” (and children are often so to us), compassion is quite free flowing and is experienced as a virtue.
this brings me to the “critical self” that is continuously demanding more from us and practically offering nothing. And when we are the grips of the “critical self” we offer our children the same that we offer ourselves, i.e. criticality (which inevitably turns into lack of faith in them) or we offer solutions. Perhaps, in the relationship between parents and children, what is most important is compassion, from them to us and from us to them without any strings attached.
Yet it is such a difficult task to be compassionate without being helpful or advisory or patronising towards them. Similarly it is so difficult to accept our follies and our slip ups as parents as though we are God!