I Don’t Care: Rediscovering Compassion in Today’s Society

How many times in the past few years have you heard the phrase “I Don’t Care”? Even more important the question “does anyone really care”. If you give it some thought it is kind of scary hey!


Is there a way to make people care? I am really struggling with that question right now and I know there is a way to fix this. But how has this become so acceptable of an attitude. I hope to shed some light on this phenomenon and in some way change how people feel about others as well as themselves. I was raised to believe you should help your family, friends and neighbors whenever possible. This includes charities and World causes within our ability to help.

What has been the most obvious fact which jumps out at me each and every day is how people perform( or not) the duties and responsibilities of their jobs. From the front line retail worker to the top corporate executives through to government officials. If I had a dollar for each time I have heard “that is not part of my job description” or “sorry “when a mistake takes place, but, with no remedy offered I would certainly have hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Why has this attitude been allowed to infect the world and in particular Canada?

There are many reasons why circumstances can become complex and inhibit straight forward interactions, but without “caring” about the outcome these issues can interfere with the real and very intent of human interaction. In the following pages I hope to bring forward some observations, opinions and ideas of how we can bring “caring” back into the fibre of our values and personalities.

I would like to bring forth my most basic of beliefs “treat others as you would like to be treated”. As for me I have a desire to be treated with caring, honesty and in a respectful manner in all that I do, so therefore that is exactly how I treat every person I interact with on a daily basis. Yes there are limits to this type of belief but overall you will find a reciprocal attitude when interacting with the majority of people. One of my greatest attributes is the ability to communicate with anyone on the same intellectually honest level no matter what the individual’s social status or ethnic/religious background might be.

There are people who would debate the facts of how the value system of an individual plays a daily role in their interaction with others, be it in a work environment or social setting. The hierarchy of needs is definitely a contributing factor in an individual’s personality. The caring part of the personality is not something that is listed as a priority, but, very well should play a definitive part in how the hierarchy of needs is the basis of the core values of the individual. Maybe as a society we need to start teaching sociology and philosophy in grade 2 instead of the College and University level. This might just be the innovative way to help institute the core value of “caring” at a young enough age as to bring the best result. I am not suggesting I know how this change could be implemented but I am sure our Educators could figure it out.

I have lived in Canada almost my entire life with sometime spent living in the United States, Bahamas, Belize. My wife and I spend time in the Philippines and many parts of Canada. I cannot speak to the lack of caring in other parts of the world but I can say for sure the problem exists in the parts of the world we have either lived or visited. So how have we as a society transgressed into this behavior over the past few decades? Is there an easy answer or are we doomed to a point where we could actually walk over dead bodies in the street to get to our next meeting without the slightest of emotion? I really hope we are not yet that far gone but we do need to give it some thought and hopefully bring the “caring” factor back into our everyday lives. I am just an average every day person who truly cares about others and how I live my life through the core values I was taught when I was a youngster, this paper is my way of trying to get the message out that we as a society are in trouble and if we do not recognized and rectify the problem we will certainly loose one of the precious gifts we as humans have been given “caring”. Let’s take some time to reflect on each of our personal interactions of the past few months. What have you experienced in your dealings with your local retail cashier, service providers, business associates or just friends and family? Have you noticed a trend or a simple lack of caring? If so you are not alone. My first observation of what has transpired in the attitude of “I don’t Care” seems to stem from several personal attributes or traits. The feeling of entitlement seems to be the most dominant followed by an attitude of instantaneous gratification which excludes the feelings of others. It is my belief both of these attitudes are derived from the values taught by the parents and guardians of children at very young ages. Then there is the emotionless effect of social media where real interactions are obscured by a distant keyboard with an artificial intent which have no true values involved. When lies and deception are common place at all levels of society it becomes a prevalent part of society and acceptable as a value which in turn diminishes the true core value of caring.

Our amazingly diverse country of Canada is the (so called envy of the world) but are we losing what has made Canada such a great place to live. Do we really, truly care about our neighbors?

Many people will argue that the demands of daily life are creating such a fast paced monetary driven society we do not have time to take the extra few minutes to show some compassion and “caring” for each other. I would tend to agree with the fact that the overwhelming demands of everyday life have truly created stress levels at just about every level of our society. But the idea of our entire human existence has been based upon helping our fellow mankind. The multiple cultures and religions which are now found in every Canadian city are the basis of humanity in its true sense, and these differences should be the exact reason why we as Canadians should aspire to be more “caring” and bring every person the respect and help we possibly can each and every day.

I have never found 100% consensus for any idea or debate of a subject matter, but I am hopeful that the future of Canada will have a majority of people who truly “care” going forward. We have fallen a very long way from the giving and kind ways of the 1960’s but with some very thoughtful actions we can bring back the best in everyone.

I am a very pragmatic person, and I do understand some people will read this paper and say I am a dreamer with no true understanding of real life today. But I am hoping the majority of people who would read this paper would see the potential in re-thinking our core values and putting an emphasis on “caring”. It will take some time and effort to bring this message forward but I am convinced the time and effort will be very worthwhile.

Where do we start? How do we change an entire generation which has been consumed by electronic communication and social media? If I knew the definitive answer to these questions I would probably be considered to be some sort of genius ( which I am not even close) but I do believe it will take a collective effort of educators, parents and corporations at all levels to bring the “caring” value back to our everyday lives.

So with this being said can you the reader take a few minutes and list the top 10 attributes you would consider to being a “caring person”. If you are having trouble listing 10 try 5.

Now can you please take your list and compile another list of 5 people who you interact with on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and ask yourself how many of the “caring” attributes each of the 5 individuals match the list you have made. This list should include fellow workers, frontline retail workers where you shop, service providers and lastly friends/relatives. Try not to allow yourself to be overly judgmental while making your list and try to make your lists based upon the real interaction you experience along with your own “caring” attributes.

Hopefully your list is compiled of individuals whom you have face to face interactions with and not people you deal with on social media or online. Now make another list of 5 individuals who you have interactive communication with on social media and online. Match the list of “caring attributes to these 5 people.

READ: 10 Positive and Negative Effects of Social Media on Society

The intent of the exercise is to see if there is a differential in the attributes of the 2 segments of people you interact with. Please take some time to analyze the results and identify any variances.

Now, we come to December of 2022 and the world has changed again over the past (soon to be) three years with the Covid19 pandemic. If we truly cared about others would we have seen so many deaths and hospitalizations? Did we all pull together to get through this critical time with true caring and understanding or did the “I don’t care” attitude cause unnecessary health crisis?

Ask yourself if the pandemic has made you rethink your true values, did you finally have an opportunity to help in a caring way, if so have you re-thought the “I don’t care” phrase and how it effects all of us?

I for one truly hope each and every one of us can use this experience from the past 3 years to find it in our hearts to expand the values which drive the true essence of caring in a real and meaningful way as we move forward. We all need to eradicate the “I don’t care” attitude and understand caring is the first step in bringing hope and prosperity back into the lives of all people we interact with in anyway. Be it in person or through a keyboard. Maybe when you have read this heart felt request from an average everyday individual you might make some changes to your attitude and beliefs.

It only takes one person at a time to make a deference throughout the entire world. Please make your mark in the world and express your caring by offering a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, a word of advice or just type a few words of encouragement.

I know you will feel a sense of pride when you know you have shown another person you truly do care.


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Robert J. Harper serves as the Executive Director of the Canadian Flag Education Centre. In his role, he oversees and directs the organization's activities and initiatives. With a commitment to education and a strategic vision, Robert plays a key role in the center's mission to promote awareness and understanding of the Canadian flag.