When a primitive animal harms another animal, it does so for two reasons; 1) It was threatened, or 2) It needs to eat. An animal does not have the ability to understand that its actions, directly, or indirectly influences another. They react to a situation in the best manner that its brain can muster, mostly deciding between, fight or flight. In instances where an animal harms a Human, we kill it. We kill it because we understand that it does not understand. We kill it because we wish to avoid more hurt than already inflicted.
So then, when a Human is confronted with the same choice as our animal counterparts, we have a third option: to put ourselves in one another’s situation. In nearly every case (bar the truly demented instances) where a rapist, murderer or robber is caught, they proclaim to be, “sorry”. Sorry because they didn’t know. Sorry because they were under the influence of one or other substance. Sorry because they are in a dire situation. Sorry because they gave in to desire. Sorry because, sorry because, sorry because.
I had a wonderful teacher in middle school retort to a “Sorry” in the following manner: “Don’t be sorry, be different.” Still today, I hold true to those words. I hold true for I understand that within that simple sentence lies the truth of why we are whom we are. Sorry does not bring a loved one back from the dead, sorry does not heal scars, sorry does not replace what is lost and sorry definitely is never sorry. What makes us Human is not the ability to be sorry, but rather the ability to be different. Sorry, is just a word that the wrongdoer says to indicate that they were not empathetic towards the victim. It’s easy to say sorry, but not easy to avoid having to say it in the first place.
It is with this, that I ask every parent who reads this to talk to his or her children. Your children will be the future abusers, rapists and murderers – unless you do something about it. If I may be so bold as to suggest what to do, it would be to enlighten them to the wonders of empathy and how it fosters a better understanding of both our fellow Man as well as our inner being. There is so much hurt and sadness in this world that is completely unnecessary, mostly because a child never learns how to address instances where they interact with another Human. Try to bring across what it means to hurt another, how it makes them feel and how reversing the roles play out much the same in reaction and emotion.
We are Human, not a primitive animal – let us allow our children to understand the difference.