Empathy is a topic that is often associated as a virtue of many poems, and it should not be a surprise to find this aspect treated in one of Strickland Gillilan‘s poems. This American Author is probably more known for his tribute to motherhood or for its quotes used in so many greeting cards.
This is the 15th contribution to my Poetry & Management collection. Poetry has always been one of my favourite forms of expressions, probably one of the eclectic sides of my multipotentialite trait. I feel it can be really useful as support in our management and leadership quests, as it is probably one of the greatest tools of sense-making and self-expression. Which is why I will be sharing more of these over time.
I have in me a tendency to hate,
Yet see with joy that tendency abate,
As each new year against my casement knocks
And leaves his drift among my temple locks.
For sometimes I hated hard and long,
And found, too late, that I had hated wrong.
I hold, at length, one dominant belief:
Hate comes but when acquaintance is too brief.
So now, when half inclined to nurture spite
Against some one I deem eschews the right,
I let not judgement yield unto my huff,
But say, “I do not know him well enough.”
For always comes this thought to give me pause,
To plead the erring human’s doubtful cause;
Although my eyes discover only ill,
God knows him through and through – yet loves him still.
I mentioned empathy, yet the poetry talks about hate. In this period of substantial challenges due to the pandemic (but not only), we all have under the eyes the results of too many people hating each other. The continuous aggressive behavior towards others, often expressed solely though vulgar language over the internet, has become a common trait of recent history.
Yet, the author finds that age and experience are a key in understanding others. As each new year (…) knocks… the tendency to hate fades as he found, too late, that I had hated wrong. He calls on understanding other first, on not letting stiff judgment prevail over a deeper knowledge.
Empathy emerges, as a key virtue, also accepting other’s errors as humans are a doubtful cause.
An important lesson for managers and leader’s alike: true understanding through active listening is key, and even if we should be wary of some risks linked with too much empathy, we need to avoid the bias of erring and hate.
What do you think of this poem? Write a Comment below.
Cover Image: Strickland Gillilan. Source: Wikimedia
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