Indifference in a world full of difference
We were walking to the bus interchange last Sunday when I noticed a man in a wheelchair. He gave money to an elderly, who was selling tissue on the sidewalk. Here in Singapore, it’s common for wheelchair-bound individuals to sell tissue. Those whom most people give a few of their loose change.
This struck me as I continuously walk and follow the sea of people. I’m not saying able people do not help/give. I’m only referring to that instance and moment of time that Sunday morning when I myself am guilty as well. Where am I getting here?
We all have been born with great opportunities in life. We have skills within us waiting to be discovered, enhance, and use to inspire or help others. As a mom and Self-Care advocate, I mostly share and write about being mindful of taking care of one’s self. This is so important as being able to attend to your own needs is actually the foundation of empathy.
As a mom who’s one of those raising two ladies of the next generation, I make sure my girls grow up seeing everyone around them with respect and equality. People who have disabilities of any kind shouldn’t be ill-treated with harmful attitudes but instead shown compassion. They are no different than us after all, they are simply special in some ways.
I hope this inspires other parents to raise their children with a compassionate heart toward others. No man’s an island after all. Our children would for sure be able to encounter people with disabilities in the future and we need to have them prepared for it. It is the future society where they are to live after all.
I’d like to share ways (me and my hubby) on how we can teach our children to show empathy towards people with disabilities:
Be curious. Asking with curiosity instead of judging them for their condition gives them a chance to feel special and somehow understood. It’s just like someone coming into the room with a new toy, everyone gets curious about where and how did they get it.
I remember Yaya, the one who helped raise my mom and her siblings. Her right thumb was cut off when she was little trying to open a coconut with a machete. Growing up, we’d occasionally ask her what happened to her thumb and instead of seeing it as an impairment to her, she’d happily tell the story of how she got it.
Listen. I’ve chosen to use “listen” instead of communicating as most of us forget that to communicate better, listening is more important than talking. Engaging in a conversation with someone and giving your 100% attention and presence at the moment, no matter what kind of disability they have is most important.
If there’s a group of people needing someone to talk to or understand them more, it is them, the people with disabilities. Let’s be honest, the world is full of judgmental people. The least we could do is not to be one of them.
Help. You’ve already been a step ahead of others when it comes to having that connection. Be their voice and be the bridge to help them. We already know the condition they are in and how others people feel towards them so let it be our duty to make life a bit lighter for them.
There’s no small help you can do in this world full of differences. It may not always be monetary help that is needed but also time and understanding. Giving more space when a wheelchair-bound is passing by or holding the door for them.
I hope this gave you more light on how you can still help those who feel indifferent in this world full of difference. You don’t need to be disabled yourself or know someone who is. If it takes to be our social responsibility to be more mindful of how we act towards them, then let it be. The more we care for others shows how we ourselves are well taken care of after all.
Getting back to my story earlier, it doesn’t matter whether we are wheelchair-bound or not, if we are mindful enough to see others in need around us and have a kind heart to help, our world would for sure be a better one. That’s the world I envision my daughters to live in in the future.