Definition: the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something; feel concern or interest; attach importance to something
Whenever I hear the word “caring” I can’t help but think of that purple dinosaur telling all those kids that, “Caring means sharing.” It just pops into my head. I can’t help it. I thought that this Word of the Week being caring, however, might provide me with the opportunity to plumb the meaning of that line more carefully. Thus, this week’s Word of the Week is dedicated to Barney, that lovably fat, purple dinosaur.
When we care for other people, we give of our ourselves. It’s nearly impossible not to. We give emotionally, physically, sometimes monetarily, as well as with time and energy and so many other parts of ourselves. Recently, I cared for a close friend. She called me with some personal troubles. She’s going through an exhausting educational program right now, and she believes that the experience is changing her into someone she doesn’t want to be. In fact, she thinks the process is changing her into someone less caring, yet she knows that caring is an essential component of her training and her profession and she doesn’t want to lose that. She wants to care.
I cared for her by listening to the issues she was having and by letting her get them off her chest. I cared further by sharing my thoughts with her about the situation and suggesting a few things she might try to lesson her anxiety about the problem. I also cared by reminding her that she is a wonderful and caring person who should work hard to keep that side of herself alive and well because in her line of work she’s going to need it if she’s to truly make a difference.
There was reciprocal sharing going on here that resulted in mutual caring. She shared her feelings with me because she cares about me and my ability to listen thoughtfully, and I shared my thoughts and energy with her because I care about her well-being and happiness. In both of our cases caring meant sharing. The most important part of all this is that my friend can now continue to care for those she works with by sharing of herself - sharing her energy, emotions, time and love. In so doing, she will address the formal definition of caring provided above by making provisions for the health and welfare of others.
Have you guessed her profession yet? She’s a doctor! Doctors must share of themselves in order to care for their patients effectively.
This week, I hope that you’ll make a real effort to care for those you love. If you’re wondering how to do that, just consider sharing with them. Share your thoughts and feelings. Share your time and energy. Send a card or just an email to let them know you’re thinking about them. I think that Barney generally meant that we should share our toys so why not go over and play a game with someone you love or go care for children at the local hospital by bringing over some toys. Share your canned goods with the homeless at your local shelter. Just do something for someone that shows them that you care.
Feeling cared for can make a huge difference in someone’s life, and I hope you’ll take the time to show others that you care this week.
Check out this week’s fantastic tips and see how they work in your life.