Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 for 21: Pity


When do we want pity?  We all get into "pity-parties" sometimes.  It's not a pretty sight.  Feeling sorry for oneself is perfectly natural, but it is a particularly unproductive form of self-gratification.

When we are truly in need, we do not want -- or need -- pity.  We want help.  We want empowerment.  We need self-respect and dignity.

Pity is a form of condescension.  When we pity someone, we do not respect them.  We do not expect them to rise above their current condition.  Ultimately, the kind of help offered through pity serves to perpetuate the state of inferiority.  It serves to make the pitier feel good about him/herself without serving the needs of the pitied.

Please do not pity people with disabilities.  They have "special needs" -- don't we all, sometimes?  If someone needs extra help to see, walk, or learn, either temporarily or permanently, then we should work towards meeting those needs.  Plain and simple.  Learn what the needs are, then see how you can help, not out of pity, but out of empathy -- because that's how you'd want to be treated.  If you can help by being a friend, great!  If you can help by volunteering time or money, great!  If you devote your life, either personally or professionally, to helping others, great! Whatever you can do to meet the needs you see around you will help.  Pity?  Not so much.

I pity the fool.

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