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Recognize suffering
Be receptive to signs of stress and subtle appeals for help. People tell us indirectly when they need someone to listen by sending "distress" and "appeal" signals. Facial expression, eye contact, tone of voice, and posture can convey distress. A downcast glance, tears in the eyes, clenched or shaking hands, and a trembling mouth can reveal a plea for a human response, "I need someone! Someone, please see me; reach out to me!"
Among the tribes of Northern Natal in sub-Saharan Africa, one person greets another with “Sawu Bona,” meaning, “I see you.” The other replies, “Sikhona,” meaning, “I am here.” This exchange reflects the spirit of Ubuntu, which means, “A person is not a person until seen by other people.” Others have to recognize our lives for us to be real.

We all need others to see us as a person, even if we prefer solitude to crowds. With no one to talk to, how can we think through our problems or find reassurance when we feel like giving up? No wonder children would rather be punished than be ignored. Yet some of the rituals we have in our culture may foster indifference.

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Our Ritual Greeting
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http://www.ksu.edu/wwparent/courses/coh/coh1-3.html-- Revised: May 1, 2006

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