And then I thought, all of us who have children love the children we have, with their flaws. If some glorious angel suddenly descended through my living room ceiling and offered to take away the children I have and give me other, better children — more polite, funnier, nicer, smarter — I would cling to the children I have and pray away that atrocious spectacle.
Hopefully, you have a few people in your life that you loved wholeheartedly. These could be partners, friends, or family. And if you did, maybe it came easily. If it didn’t, you might at least be able to say that it made you more compassionate, or stronger.
Unfortunately, love sometimes comes with obstacles requiring navigation, whether they be fears, doubts, great uncertainties, or external pressures. Not a pleasant truth, but a truth nonetheless. Today’s talk focuses on stories of people who have shown great compassion throughout difficult situations and who have loved and accepted unconditionally. I wouldn’t dare call their actions extraordinary, but rather a reminder of how ordinary human compassion can prevail in unusual circumstances.
Andrew Solomon is a writer, specialized in politics, culture, and psychology. In his talk Love, no matter what, he tells stories about families who had to negotiate differences between themselves, their children, and the world. He makes it abundantly clear how the world has changed in the past half-century: how children with disabilities were described in newspapers in the ’60s and how societal pe>ceptions have progressed to the present day. Again, not a pleasant truth…
To love unconditionally is a common parental trait. If only it would be more common without needing to be parental.