Loving Your Neighbor with the Teachable Spirit

» Posted by on May 24, 2014 in teachable spirit | 0 comments

Loving Your Neighbor with the Teachable Spirit

We have all grown up with the Golden Rule, which is based on the following scripture:

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Yeshua (Jesus) answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” –Mark 12:28-31

Loving your neighbor as yourself, as the teachable spirit knows, requires that you love yourself first. At first glance, this may seem very selfish. Should we not consider others before we think of our own needs?

Thinking about this from the aspect of parenting, we can only provide for our children to our own capacity. Perhaps a story will illustrate my point better. During my years teaching at Highline Community College, there was an individual in my class who left Mexico and came to the US to learn English, so that he could return to Mexico and get paid a higher pay wage in his chosen field as a psychologist, which would then increase his capacity to assist his aging mother. Here is a short story he wrote in class that may give some perspective to the teachable spirit on loving your neighbor as yourself.

Jaimito was a friend of mine; we were six years old. I had a little tiny candy store right in front of my house. There was a pulque bar across the street. Jaimito was a son of a woman who used to be drink pulque every single day at that place. We used to play soccer in the street while his mom got drunk. One day I didn’t know where he was any more.

I grew up and became a psychologist; I got a job in one of the state jails where I had to give some psychotherapy to the prisoners. One of cold morning in the November rain I called on prisoner 1277, and GUESS WHAT!! Number 1277 was Jaimito.

I was talking to him for over an hour; he had started drinking when he was eight years old and then he became an alcoholic. He told me,

“One night I was drinking and fighting with someone; that’s all I remember…and now I’ll be here for 27 years.”

Yes, now he is a killer in the jail for society; but, for me he is Jaimito, my little friend. I had to turn his case over to another psychologist. Now I would like to ask God,

My son, Isaac, playing soccer with the children of Ingrid Education Centre, January 2013.

My son, Isaac, playing soccer with the children of Ingrid Education Centre, January 2013.

“Why those two kids who used to be happy playing soccer together now have such different lives?”

I hope someday, maybe in 25 years, I can play soccer again with Jaimito.

Thank you, Oscar, for sharing that story with the teachable spirit. Jaimito’s mother could only love her child to the capacity that she loved herself. The same is true for all of us. Doing those things that increase our energy, develop our abilities, strengthen our resolve, and broaden our resources, will be the extent to which we have the ability to love those around us. A mother is a prime example of demonstrating love. The more educated and supported a woman is, the better she is able to love, support, and care for her child.

For example, one of the best things I ever did for myself as a mother was to go back to school, finish my bachelor’s degree, and complete two master’s degrees. Many people may have thought this was a very selfish move on my part, deserting my children in the evenings, and spending my time concentrating on something else that decreased my ability to be with them.

Natalie holding Tiberius, Isaac, Amy, and me at Ty's dedication, December 2013.

Natalie holding Tiberius, Isaac, Amy, and me at Ty’s dedication, December 2013.

What I have found over the years is that going back to school and obtaining my degrees increased my capacity to assist my children in their pursuit of education as well as my earning capacity, and ultimately, they followed my example.

Loving your neighbor as yourself means pursuing the path that fulfills your heart’s desires; meaning, what you were designed to do, those innate abilities that God created in you to fulfill in this world. Initially, it may seem selfish, but in the long term, we are better able to offer assistance to our fellow human beings when our reservoirs are full, when we have strengthened ourselves to be able to love more because the teachable spirit knows that loving our neighbor as ourselves means loving ourselves first.

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