Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Change of the right 'kind'

It was nearing the end of the academic year. My 9yrold son and his classmates were given work to do at home. They were asked to write little notes about each classmate on pieces of paper and bring it to class the next day. It was amusing and enlightening to see the 9yrold tackle this with great enthusiasm and dedication. Abhay was funny and nice while Saakshi ran well. Pranav was excellent in sports and Arjun was clever. He got stuck when he came to one particular classmate, U.

“I cannot write anything nice about him, Amma, In fact no one’s going to write anything good about him. He’s very very naughty.”

This boy U had been the subject of many a dinnertime discussion. How U refuses to listen to the teacher and how he troubles the children!

“Surely you can think of something” I prompted.

“No,no, he’s the same boy I’ve been complaining about. He troubles everyone, never listens, not even to ma’am. Ma’am has refused to talk to him so many times, but he just doesn’t change.”

“You will be very excited to see what everyone’s written about you tomorrow, I wonder how he will feel” I said, not wanting to push him, but feeling a little sad about U.

The next 15 minutes passed with him sighing loudly because he just didn't know what to write. Finally he wrote, “ I think you can really run fast if you want. And I know everyone would like you more if you really want them to’. 

The next day, my son came home with 31 colorful scraps of paper. His classmates had called him helpful, sweet, funny and kind. A few raved about his soccer moves. There were a few too who wanted him to speak softer (my ears thank you, lil ones).

I loved this exercise that the kids had to do. It was not indicated what they could write, but almost everyone found it within themselves to think up a nice comment about the other. And if you looked hard enough, even the meanest person does have something worth liking. He may just not know it yet.

As if to drive the point in deeper, that evening, as I strolled near the play area, I overheard this conversation between two children. “ I wish people were more kind”.

And this is precisely what I think we need more of: Tolerance, kindness, graciousness, a spirit of Ubuntu! 

What is Ubuntu, you ask? It is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up, as "I am what I am because of who we all are." In simple words, it means that we cannot function as isolated humans individually and that we need to be interconnected.

And I cannot help feeling that displays of kindness, are getting increasingly hard to come across. Even the playground is a mini battlefield, with a lot of ego play and rage simmering. 

If I were to change something, I would alter the mental makeup of people. A little more kindness, a little more of compassion, cut back on the bitterness and rage and add generously the spirit of oneness.

A good starting point would be to do a kind gesture everyday, it could be helping the elderly neighbour carry her groceries to her doorstep, or listening to a friend's woes  or helping out the maid with her kid’s admission or going about your day with a smile and chirpy  hello! 

Go on now, pick up that phone and speak to a person you've been meaning to, and make them happy.  

Now that is very very doable, don’t you think? It's definitely a time for change. 


pickled_tongue said...

Nice...I appreciate that African philosophy...:)

Sairekha said...

I love this post! Im curious though.. what did U have to say about him?

GamingGarage.blogspot.com said...

Nicely written
Well done yaar..all the best.
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Are Hijra's(TransGender) not a Human being.?

Anonymous said...

You write well - you really do , pls right regularly i love reading your writings , though i seldom comment on your blog.


Reflections said...

I loved this post Suma....if only every parent were like u, cannot explain more, just tht I loved it:-).

I hope U win:-))!!!!

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