The Decline of Empathy Thanks to a Piece of Fabric

Unbelievably, the simple act of wearing a mask has become political and another example of how empathy is on shaky ground amongst fellow human beings.

How did that happen?

Since when did protecting our country’s most vulnerable: the old, the young, and the immunocompromised become an infringement of personal rights? The fact that the mask debate has turned into a political weapon is sad and appalling.

We need to do better.

There is nothing more empathetic than wearing a mask when you think you don’t need to. You are not wearing the face-covering for yourself; you are wearing it for everyone else.

You wear it out of compassion for our brothers and sisters on the planet.

You wear it out of respect for the hard-working professionals in the medical field who are dealing with a literal war zone of sick and dying patients.

You wear it so when we all can get together and hug each other freely, none of us will be missing.

It puzzles me how something as straightforward as a piece of fabric has turned into an argument over “infringement of rights.”

If everyone could find a way to tour a hospital wing and witness for themselves the heartbreak, I know they would gladly cover their mouth and nose without so much as a peep of protest.

If people could see the patients, the doctors, the nurses, the aides, and all of the who families are waiting for their loved ones (whom they can’t even see) emerge from these COVID units, it would go a long way towards increasing the level of empathy towards this issue.

For me, all it took to convince me to wear a mask regularly was hearing one story about how a hospital in New York had to bring in refrigerated trucks because the hospital morgue was filling up faster than the hospital could accommodate.

I do not live in New York, but I wanted to do everything I could in my part of the world to be sure I did not contribute to this pandemic.

This is what I would call empathy in action. Empathy in action is when we see a need, and we immediately move to the take steps needed to help address the problem and keep everyone else in your life safe.

Empathy is looking past your inconveniences and doing what’s right for people who may not even know.

Empathy can be as simple…as loving…as a rectangle piece of cloth on your face.

Be loving. Mask up.

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About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All ten of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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