O n a packed bus one recent Saturday, I watched an ugly scene unfold. A mother shaking a boy aged perhaps six or seven. Not super-hard, you understand, but borderline rough. Then the boy complained to his mother that she had punched him. The boy sank to the floor of the bus and started to cry. He started to cry.
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If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Too often the trend in our society is for people to be separated from either other, to be cut off from the great mass of humanity, and in doing so to be dehumanized a little bit more with each step. Cars have taken us off the streets, where we used to greet each other and stop to chat. Cubicles have taken away a bit of the humanity in working, as have factories and even computers to some extent. Television has planted us firmly in our living rooms, instead of out with other people.
In our technology-driven world, we could spend an entire day without physically needing to see or talk to another person. Thanks to digital devices and the Internet, we can work and order our food, and just about anything else we need, from home. You can go days with your only interaction being with your touch screen or mouse and keyboard. There are many great things about our modern world—but the people in it should be at the top of that list. Taking a genuine interest in your family, friends, neighbors and even strangers is one of the most rewarding decisions you can make for yourself and those around you that you choose to serve.