My name is Carol, I live in Berkeley, and I am the new president of an international women’s service organization in El Cerrito.
Edwin: You felt that caring was a progressive value?
Edwin: What do you think about caring? How did you come to have that value?
Oh, I suppose through my education and my upbringing. My mother was an incredibly loving, caring person and taught me to look outward rather than inward. And I have to say it’s mostly due to her influence and throughout my young years that she would repeat that message to me one way or another.
Edwin: Do you remember any incident where you learned a lesson about caring?
Well, yes. It was more than one, because any time I would complain, as children do, about something, that I’m too tired, or hungry, or I’m complaining about too much work to do, or that my big toe hurts, some kind of small thing that is big in a child’s eyes, she would most always say “You need to look at what other people are experiencing, because what you are experiencing is so minor compared to what other people have in their lives.’
Edwin: It almost sounds like empathy. You said you have multiple stories. Do you remember another one?
Well, maybe this is sort of silly, and maybe this is silly, and I don’t know if it’s politically correct today, but at a very young age she made me aware if someone was in a wheelchair or an amputee of some sort, to focus on the wholeness, and not on the disability. I think that may have been because her grandfather was an amputee, and maybe he influenced her life that she understood he was more than the definition of a person who doesn’t have legs.
Edwin: Did that actually happen, that she said that to you?
Yes, in a public place, like every young child, you’re often faced with things, walking around with your mother, and you’re wondering “What’s that all about?” You know, I remember more than once I would question why's that person’s in a wheelchair, and I wouldn’t say it in those words. I was too young to express it that way, then she would take the opportunity to explain to me in a quiet way, you should have care and understanding for what the person may be going through.