Treat others as you want to be treated was the first lesson taught to me by my father and it’s what I’m trying to teach my kids. It does however contradict the other lesson of respect is earned and not just given ‘only show respect to people who show you respect’.
Then there is empathy and compassion.
In my line of work I have to show compassion since I deal with members of the public from every walk of life. I haven’t mentioned my job in any of my blogs so you are my privileged first. I’m a bus driver in London. I can hear the hisses of other Londoners and the curious look from everyone else like ‘you are mad!’
It’s not a bad job, like everywhere it requires patience, compassion and empathy. I have learnt quite a few new lessons with regards to people and not to judge a book by its cover.
(Warning: I am full of cheesy quotes in this one, I promise it’s unintentional!)
I have seen people get on the bus, looking strong and healthy, however they carry a disabled pass. I see them the next day trying to run for the bus and they have half a hop because they have something wrong with their hips or knees. When they board they look at you apologetically as though they have done something wrong. I hear drivers talking about how they are unwilling to wait, they haven’t got the time to waste! I don’t know if this is normal behavior or if it’s exclusive to London where everything moves so fast, people don’t look at each other and if you fall over, they would rather step over you than help you up.
God help me, that for a while I got caught up in this melee and I’m not proud of it and it’s not what I want my children to learn. This can’t be the norm.
I can’t accept the fact that there is a vast majority who think that getting to their destination is more important than helping the person who has fallen. I have started to analyze things with my children when they make suggestions or comments that I believe are, for lack of a better term, naive.
We talk about why and maybe if…. How would they like it if other people made such comments about them? Of course that doesn’t count if someone has big hair or has it dyed all the different shades of the rainbow. There are a few things that have happened recently that make me believe we are doing a decent job.
When a new child started in the same class as DD3, she offered to help her settle in, show her around and to be a friend. She didn’t need coaxing, she did it voluntarily and felt great satisfaction in showing this new pupil how great her school was and what great people were.
The one that amazed me the most was my eldest. She started Choir this year. She loves to sing and perform so to us this was a natural extracurricular activity to choose. It wasn’t until half way through the scholastic year that one of the teachers had approached us and asked us if we were her parents.
Worried, I replied yes and this rambling came out of what a great girls we are raising and how compassionate and good hearted she is…..
It took me a couple of minutes to process what I’d been told, but the short version is: she had taken one of the children under her care. This child has some kind of disability that makes her quite frail (please don’t ask me what because this teacher was talking so fast and deciphering is something that I thought only archaeologists had to do). My daughter would go and fetch her from class, bring her to choir, cater to her during practice and take her back.
This is the kind of thing that every parent wants his or her child to do, but to actually hear about it.
Really? My child is doing that?
I was so proud. I mean, I have many proud moments, but that moved me, almost to tears.
An eight-year-old who has that kind of empathy towards her fellow human beings? Wow, that’s all I can say… Wow.
So I guess we are doing something right, the cliches are somewhat working.
I’m not trying to kid myself, cliches are useful, but I do believe that it is a case of nature with those two. I can see it with their sisters, and it’s great that they are taking that kind nature of theirs and transmitting it out to other.
If more people where like those two little ones, the world would be a much better place.
It has taught me, that if two, such small things, can show so much love towards others, then so can I in every aspect of my life. I just hope that the hard experiences that life will throw at them won’t jade them as it has me for so long, that it took them to make me see how beautiful simple acts can really be.
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