In his book, The Elephant Whisperer, Lawrence Anthony learns how to communicate with a dangerous herd of rogue elephants, very wary of humans. Together, after a series of consistent, calm, and unhurried close encounters, mammal and humans learned to "read" each other.
What can be missing in our hustle-bustle preparations for the holidays is the face-to-face time together. Too often, a text and a smiling emoji and we scamper off to the next task on the list. (I am guilty as charged.) I know I have missed important cues from friends, cues not found in a hurried text.
Behavioral researchers warn that too much reliance on devices can have an adverse effect on our ability to use read moods, to feel compassion, to empathize and to communicate feelings through facial cues. The research is very clear especially in regard to our impressionable adolescents.
Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort. ― Roy T. Bennett
This time of year, we recall the story of the innkeeper who at the very least, shows compassion for Mary and Joseph. With the town full of people traveling there to be registered, he came face-to-face with this young mother-to-be and her husband. He led them to shelter: a warm stable. I wonder about today's world. Would the innkeeper have the same compassion if Mary and Joseph were just another name on a long list, just part of the throng? But it was the face-to-face encounter that evoked his sensitivity.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. ------Luke 2:7-11
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. ------1 Corinthians 12:26
In his book, The Elephant Whisperer, Lawrence Anthony learned how to read the heart of his elephants. All the while, they were teaching him, he missed the cues: the most important being the revelation that cues did exist. He learned to be attentive, attuned. "This human heart became literate."
See Also: Symbiosis
Interesting facts about elephants:
- Like all highly social mammals, elephants have a well-developed system of communication that makes use of all of their senses – hearing, smell, vision and touch – including an exceptional ability to detect vibrations.
- They can identify languages.
- They understand human and body language.
- They show empathy.
- They mourn the dead.
- They mimic human voices.
- They have an extraordinary memory.