The Opposite of Love is Indifference

My daughter was delivering her first keynote in front of 600 people at the Prevent Child Abuse Arizona Conference in July of 2018. She shared a quote that I had never heard before, which really made me stop and think about my work with young children and their parents. The quote was:

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.

It gave me a lot of space to think. Here is what I thought of.

  • I think it’s relatively obvious to notice a student who is unhappy, angry, sad, or some type of typical emotion.

  • I think it’s harder to notice someone, including a student, who is either indifferent, or is being treated indifferently.

  • I think we see the results and/or byproducts of someone who has been treated indifferently, but this is not the same as recognizing indifference as the source of the angst.

Question for you to ponder related to your work with young learners, older learners, your family, friends and colleagues.

  • How could you more intentionally recognize someone who is being treated with indifference?

  • If you took the time to notice indifference more often, how would this impact your behavior?

Here’s another question:

How many moments of indifference happen in a normal day for any given person?

Today’s blog is short with regards to number of words, yet heavy with the potential impact this could have on all of us.

Here are three things which I strive to do when I am around others:

  • Use a friendly kind of eye contact and a soft smile to create a moment of caring connection.

  • Use an interesting and friendly question to show someone I’m interested in their thoughts.

  • Being a patient listener and saying the words, “Take your time” as they are responding.

Do what you can to lessen the amount of indifference in our communities.