Caring for Others: It’s Part of the Good Life

Published May 30, 1985. I have been reading a very interesting book the past few days. It was written by George Bach and Laura Torbet and is titled “A Time for Caring.”

The authors write, “In pursuit of the life well lived many people have ridden roughshod over their better nature. They have all but trampled their need to care and be cared for. Yet caring for each other – and ourselves – is essential to the good life. It’s an integral part of what we need to feel at peace with ourselves and the world we live in. By neglecting and trivializing our caring nature, we are betraying our own best interests.”

In essence, the two authors claim we are becoming a non-caring society. It supposedly is not fashionable to care for others and does not win popularity contests. Today we lead busy, demanding, and competitive lives. The dog-eat-dog skills that are supposedly essential for survival in today’s society tend to isolate people and pit them against each other rather than bring them closer together.

In “A Time for Caring,” Bach and Torbet note we often live inconsistent lives. While many of us can be tender and caring in our own homes and families, we cannot or will not demonstrate these qualities to the outside world. The opposite also occurs. Some of us have learned to be superficially caring in the outside world because others will respond financially. Then when we return home, we fail to demonstrate our caring skills to our own spouse and children.

We in the marriage and family field have recently noted a trend. Suppose I ask the question, “What qualities are essential to a good marriage?” Most people would say communication, decision-making, conflict resolution etc. But we now realize that a person may have all these skills and yet use them for his own self-interest. We too, have found that unless husbands and wives are basically caring people that all other skills or tools are useless.

Says writer Alice Robertson,

I may be able to look into the future and understand the dynamics of relationships. I may trust that my marriage will not collapse and plan for many new things. But if I have no caring, my marriage is nothing.

I may be unselfish and submit to many changes, but if I have no caring, my marriage is nothing.

When I care. I am patient and kind, and I am glad for the ways in which we differ from each other. When I care, I do not always think I am right, and I am willing to defer to my spouse graciously.

When I care, I am slow to react inappropriately, and I do not rejoice in getting away with something.

Caring means commitment in difficult times as well as in good times; always looking for the best, expecting the best and rejoicing in the best.

Thanks be to God that He has made it possible for me to care.

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