“The power of a caring relationship.” Those words jumped off the screen, as I read a message from someone from my past, a lovely woman who greatly inspired me when I was a child. Sometimes, things we know so well sound like fresh revelation when we hear them stated so simply, so succinctly, and, especially, when we’re least expecting. As I read those words, they resounded in my soul: “The power of a caring relationship.” “The power of a caring relationship.” “The power of a caring relationship.” It then occurred to me that caring relationships are the best ones to have, not just because one person cares about another but because that care contains a very special power, but a power that is, unfortunately, so easily overlooked.
We don’t always realize and appreciate what the power of caring can do. It can encourage and inspire. It can produce change and can transform a life. Think about people you know or have heard of who have achieved great things because an elementary or middle school teacher encouraged them to believe in themselves and to reach for the stars, and they did. What about an all-star athlete who considered giving up on sports but didn’t because a high school coach not only showed interest in their athletic abilities but showed genuine interest in their academic and personal life. Then, there are parents and the power of their care in the lives of their children. My husband and I often talk with each other and also with friends about the balance between doing things that truly help our children versus things that hinder them from becoming able, mature, and responsible adults. How much help is too much? How little is too little? When is “help” not really help at all? All children are not the same, and parents have to answer these questions for themselves based on what they know about their children, but regardless of the differences, one thing remains the same: children need the eyes, ears, minds, and hearts of their parents. So parents, care for your children as much as you can and give them as much help as you believe they need to help them move forward in life. This world can be very hard, very bitter, very cold, brutal, and cruel, but there’s no limit to what children can accomplish with the power of their parents’ care that found, ground, and fuel their lives.
What’s great about the power of caring is that it’s universal. Caring relationships are needed in every arena: home, work, in business, education, in politics, in government, entertainment, and sports. No segment of society is exempt. In a climate where some of the most disturbing and heinous acts happen in office settings and places of business, some still say there’s no place for love, care, and compassion in the workplace and to leave those emotions and soft skills at home. We commonly measure success by money, fame, and prestige, but what’s often behind success are loving and caring relationships that fuel that success. And even though people become successful without always having that fuel of love and care, all too often we feel the adverse effects somewhere in the marketplace of what we perceive as the lack of love and care in the lives of successful people because even though they’re successful, we all know of successful people who are believed to not be all that nice.
Here’s an example: embattled pharmaceuticals executive, Martin Shkreli, who was recently sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding investors. Before being convicted of securities fraud, Shkreli, described as the “most hated man in America,” became known for his 5500% price hike on Daraprim, a life-saving drug used to treat HIV. During sentencing, Shkreli’s lawyers described him as, “kind, caring, and generous.” Yet, public opinion couldn’t quite reconcile a price increase from $13.50 to $750 on this life-saving drug with kindness, care, and generosity, and led many to characterize Shkreli’s actions as inhumane. As we consider Shkreli, the product of a “lonely and abusuve childhood,” who later “alienated people close to him,” we can’t help but correlate what appears to, perhaps, be a lack of loving and caring relationships in his life with what played out publicly over the past few years.
The power of caring relationships! I could go on with stories and examples that bring this exponential power more and more into the light. Instead, let’s go on and on together and commit to using our collective and transformative power of care to encourage and inspire others to believe in themselves, to make any necessary changes in who and what they are, and to pursue and achieve their greatness. Sometimes, all it takes is a decision and a seed: our decision to sow a seed of care into the life of someone we know. Since seed produces after its own kind, we can expect the seeds of care that we sow into the lives of others to produce a harvest and more seeds of care that they can then sow into the lives of those they know. Then, there will be even more harvest and seeds of care to sow, all because of the exponential power inherent within a caring relationship.
Like you, Katrina loves seeing people in healthy relationships (with themselves and others) that they genuinely enjoy and not just simply tolerate. This blog is dedicated to achieving that vision.