“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
As children, we had a subject in school called ‘value education.’ In that one of the values that we learned was compassion. I remember every textbook of every grade had it. This means we studied about it for almost ten years of our life. Everyone got good marks in that exam, but how many of us actually understood the subject?
We had learned that above everything there is humanity, and compassion keeps it alive. We read it, we agreed with it, but how many of us practiced it? Being compassionate of your fellow beings is the number one lesson every human has to learn. But, the sad reality of today is we call ourselves humans yet we don’t know the first thing about it.
Charity begins at home. In the same way, compassion also begins at home. If we are going to be considerate beings, we need to be able to practice that at our homes first, and first and foremost with our children. Now, this statement may confuse many among us as we are already thinking about our kids all day long, how much more can we be considerate about them? If you have the same question as me, read ahead (and if you don’t, even then read ahead).
Meet Sanjana, an eleven-year-old girl. Today is her result day and she has come to school with her parents to collect her report card. She is nervous about her results. Nevertheless, they go to her class and get her result. Her worst fears have come true. She was dreading that she would get low marks in Maths and Geography, which she did.
Her parents were beside themselves with rage. They shouted at her and criticized her marks in front of everyone. She could barely control her tears. When they were back home, her mother had stopped talking to her. She said that unless and until she gets good marks in the next exam, she was not going to talk to her. Sanjana was devastated.
She was under so much pressure to perform the next time. She wanted her mother to speak to her again. But, because she was worried about it all the time, she could not properly concentrate, which meant her next result was also not ‘great.’
Sanjana’s mother said that she was useless and she would never be able to do anything in her life and that she had embarrassed her mother. Without a doubt, Sanjana was crushed. She never believed in herself again.
Let us visit the house of Rahul. Rahul is a very enthusiastic boy who loves to play. He just loved playing cricket with his friends in the evening. One day he and his team had a very important match with the kids from another colony. It was a pretty big deal for a twelve-year-old boy.
Naturally, Rahul was playing wholeheartedly with his team and he forgot to see what time it was. He was lost in the game. He was playing in the compound of his society, so his father knew where he was. Half an hour had passed since his time limit. It was the final over. But, his father had enough. He screamed at Rahul to come back home.
Rahul was disheartened, he requested his father to give him some more time today as it was the final over, but his father would not have it. He came and dragged him out of the game. Once they were home his father shouted at him for ignoring his studies and playing out for so long. And in the end, he forbade him from playing anymore. It broke the poor boy’s heart but he daren’t disobey his father. And so, he had to stop doing the one thing that was dearest to him.
Now let us meet our third friend, Shikha. Shikha’s mother asked her to go and get something from the market. Her mother gave her the money and told her to safely bring back the change after she was done shopping. But, while she was on the way, she lost the money somehow. She frantically searched everywhere, but she couldn’t find it. Dejected, she went home.
When she told her mother the story, her mother got very angry and scolded her. She yelled at her for being so irresponsible and careless. The yelling and screaming went on for what seemed like hours. As a punishment, her mother did not buy her the chocolate that she liked very much for a month. Shikha was very sad. She was sad because she had been a disappointment for her mother, and her favorite chocolate was taken away from her.
Now, what do we learn from these stories? Have we ever put our children in the positions of Rahul, Shikha, and Sanjana? If we have, then do you think we have been compassionate towards our children? I don’t think so.
Compassion means we understand the pain of other people and offer them our support. But, if we can’t even support our children in their tough times, how will we show compassion to the rest of the world?
Kids are bound to make mistakes, everyone is bound to make mistakes. But that doesn’t mean that we have to be so heartless with them, our own children. Our job is to help them learn from their mistakes and not make them feel bad about themselves. We have to understand the kind of impact we have on our kids.
We have the purest intentions for our kids. Even the parents of Sanjana, Rahul, and Shikha wanted good things for their children, however, the way they chose was not very helpful as it did not have compassion in it.
Our words are very important for our kids. What we say can make or break them. So, when we have such huge power, shouldn’t we use it to make a positive impact on our child’s life? Rather than creating negativity in their minds which would be very difficult to remove, we can be the beacon of positivity. Our kids need our love and support to grow, but more importantly, they need our compassion.