No one told me the importance of guarding/protecting/shepherding/stewarding our vulnerable/defenseless inner-self. Everyone in my world was swinging away at it, within me and everyone else. Attacking sarcastically any hint of weakness, compassion, empathy, sensitivity and grace. Everybody had to be mean, tough, shrewd, rude, coarse, uncaring and indifferent. I look back on that world and wonder how I ever survived. A lot of us did not, and took our consolation in whiskey, gin, vodka and cheap red wine (This was before pot, cocaine and fentanyl). How much drug abuse, and how many suicides, could be prevented by recognizing and guarding/protecting/shepherding/stewarding our vulnerable/defenseless inner-self? It is a sick world in which the question needs to be asked. We have a tender side. And we are responsible for tending it, nurturing it, nourishing it and developing our relationship with it over the full course of our life. We will discover that it will return the favor ten-fold as the source of vitality life, interest, enthusiasm, radiance, joy, bliss, wonder, love and delight. We need to tell our children early-on about the importance of their tender side, and of walking two paths at the same time, fostering their noble heart as well as their warrior spirit, so that they are capable of meeting the world as it needs to be met in each situation as it arises, giving mercy and taking no quarter as the occasion demands, honoring the "time and place for everything" reality over the full course of our life.