“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo Buscaglia
I am Amaidhi Devaraj and am privileged to have been born in a family of social workers. From a very young age I have constantly interacted and worked with children from marginalized backgrounds. This enabled me to see how our society did not support the growth and development of these bright and talented children, this in turn made me align my education and profession with social development.
My constant struggle has been trying to provide the best of everything for my daughters whilst not feeling guilty about the other half of society whose children live below the poverty line.
Empathy Vs Sympathy
Most of us do feel sorry or sympathetic toward the children begging on the street, you may even point it out to our children and tell them “see this is why I tell you not to waste food because of all the starving children” but how do we teach our children to do more – go beyond sympathy and understand their struggle?
Like most emotions empathy needs to be taught, and how best to do this than by being good role models. It can be as simple as talking respectfully to your domestic help. One of the things I consciously try to do is, to treat the children of my domestic help just like I would treat the children of my friends, so that my daughters understand that everyone, no matter their backgrounds should be treated equally. I also seek opportunities in stories or otherwise to point out situations where we need to be tolerant and embrace differences in people, be it differences in race, gender or sexual orientation. I also try and include my children in my work by taking them to project sites and introducing them to the children I work with.
“Everyone talks about leaving a better planet for our kids, let’s try to leave better kids for our planet” are words that I strive to live by.