I sincerely hope that everyone in the bloggernacle has a look at the article “Cultivating Sensitivity to Others” in this month’s Ensign. The author, Andrea Worthington Snarr, begins by recounting an episode in which she received an anonymous letter with parenting tips. She says:
“Photocopied articles explained how to say no to children and outlined the social ills resulting from parents’ failures.
“Obviously, the sender had noticed our son’s difficulties. What the sender apparently did not know, however, is that our son has a neurological condition related to autism.”
She then explains the lengths she and her husband had gone to to help their son and describes the hurt she felt because of this letter. The lesson she learned was that “loving others includes striving to understand and be sensitive to their unique situations.”
Sister Snarr also shares stories of others who felt the sting of insensitivity: a young single woman who was made to feel out of place because of her singleness, a divorced man who felt in visible and no longer included in the ward, and an infertile couple who “received counsel from a member of their bishopric not to put off having a family in order to accumulate wealth and enjoy ‘a few of the good things in life.’”
According to this article, we should increase our awareness of others’ situations, avoid assumptions about them and the way they are living, extend respect to all around us, and show kindness to others (including not gossiping). By the same token, if we experience insensitivity from others, we should resist taking offense.
On important note from this article is that it often only takes one good, kind friend to overcome much of the sorrow that insensitivity can cause. We should all strive to be that friend to anyone around us we may know of who has difficulties. As Sister Snarr concludes, “We can unify our wards and branches by supporting each other and cheering each other on instead of being accomplices to divisiveness.”
I think everyone can think of examples in his or her own ward of the situations described in this article. I know I can. I hope I can always be a friend and support rather than a potential hindrance to someone’s spiritual growth and well-being.