The girl’s eyes were soft and tender and the heart within her stretched a little and grew; grew in sweetness and intuition and depth of feeling. It had looked into another heart, felt it beat, and heard it sigh; and that is how all hearts grow. (from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin)
And what happened then…? Well…in Who-ville they say That the Grinch’s small heart Grew three sizes that day! (from How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss)
I decided to post two quotes today because the first reminded me so forcibly of the second that I couldn’t help myself. Empathy grows the heart every time. This is why it is wonderful to hear people tell their stories. It is very hard to keep judging anyone or disliking anyone when you know what he has come from and come through. I have prayed for my son to grow up with true empathy for others. I see it as one of the most important things to be gained from reading children’s literature. As Atticus Finch put it, you have to crawl into someone else’s skin and walk around in it.
Sometimes it hurts to allow your heart to look into another heart, feel it beat, hear it sigh. But what a wonderful ache it is when you discover afterward that it was a growing pain.