“Judge not lest ye be judged.” “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

We’ve all heard the old adages about judgment and respect. We can rattle them off, practically asleep.

As an educator (and soon to be counselor) I used to teach these principles to my students. I wanted them to understand the importance of social-emotional learning opportunities and how they worked in conjunction with their academics. And no matter how many times they messed up, I always kept my patience…it is a virtue after all. But that isn’t why.

It was easy being patient with “my” children. Many came from broken homes and other conditions where they didn’t learn much about respect or showing loving kindness – to themselves or anyone else. I knew my class was likely the only place many ever received any affection, so I broke school rules every morning and lined them up for hugs before entering the classroom. Some students – depending on the extent of their emotional distress – were permitted to go to the back of the line and get seconds and thirds if need be to get them ready to enter our community of learners.

Several of these students are the reason for my transition to the legacy development profession. In working with them I saw how much pain they were in. I saw how that pain was directly connected to the pangs of their family and sometimes even the hurts embedded within their cultures. I knew that in order to teach them, I had to first help them heal.

It’s amazing to me – even now – how years after leaving the teaching profession to start my own company leading self-actualization (healing) workshops, I can still credit these children with so much of my own growth and development. Yet, when it comes to adults…well, that’s a different story.

See, much like the children in my life who taught me about familial pains and legacies of destitution, there are some adults who show me what happens when those children don’t heal. Of course, I didn’t see it that way at first.

No, when children are hurting and lash out we have a tendency to draw them closer to us. We pull them in, embrace and protect them. We promise to love them at their most unlovable…no matter what.

Adults who hurt and lash out, on the other hand, we push away. We tend to tell them to buck up and get over it. They’re adults for crying out loud, it’s time they acted like it. We judge them for their less than stellar choices and the manifestations of their (seemingly) inferior moral compass. We become judge mints – totems dedicated to passing judgment and exacting retribution on the idiotic adults who can’t get themselves or their lives under control.

But wait…why are we so willing to accept that children may not have been privy to these lessons on love and respect, but disregard the idea that an adult might have been denied it, too? Just what do you think happens to those children? They grow up and become the adults we can’t stand!

But I have news for you, if you’re not loving someone unlovable over the age of 16, you’re doing the world a grave disservice. If you’re not teaching them to love and respect themselves as well as others, then who is? If you’re assuming the lesson will be picked up eventually somewhere in their life, then understand that you revoke your right to complain. (If you aren’t part of the solution, then you don’t get to discuss the problem).

As for me, I’m learning this lesson every day…sometimes the hard way. But I’m so glad I’m learning it. So glad indeed.

Until next time – as always, good luck and Namaste.