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.

And lastly,

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.

This post is a part of “International Day of Persons with Disability”
blog hop hosted by Sakshi Varma (Tripleamommy) in collaboration with Bookosmia #IDPDbloghop2022

34 thoughts on “Indifference in a world full of difference

  1. How poerful this post is. You deserve a round of applause for writing this post. Thanks for such wonderfu post to try to put effort to raise adults who will be cognizant of the challenges faced by people with needs that are different from themselves.

  2. It is amazing how you wrote such an impactful post on that one incident of seeing the man bound to wheelchair. Most of us would feel sorry for him or just not choose to react to it. Your title completely justified what most of us do. We are so indifferent to other people that even though we want to make a difference we choose to ignore these small incidents. Hats off to you!

  3. You deserve a round of applause for writing this post. Helping others gives a pleasing feeling which cannot be described in words. This post will be a true eye opener for many.

  4. As a mom of 3 I can relate it to. It is very important to us as a parent , we should listen to the curious mind of our kids and accept the way they are instead of making them the way we want. You put it beautifully how to teach empathy.

  5. Curiosity, listening and help are three magic mantras you have listed out. It is a great way to make it a better place for you and me and the entire world. We should teach empathy.

  6. Being a mom of 2 myself, I can relate to how important it is for us parents to sensitize our kids and teach them to be accepting and open-minded, so we can leave behind a better world for them to live in. Oftentimes, there is a fear or anxiety when talking to a disabled person, that we might unknowingly hurt them or offend them. your blog helps us realize that beyond their impairments, they are regular people too. And want to be treated as such. thank you for this informative post.

  7. Such a wise post with precious parenting tips. I’m going to teach my daughter your approach – Be curious, Listen, and Help. Simple but effective for a kind and inclusive world. Thanks for writing this post, Jeannine.

  8. Empathy is the key here. The best thing that can happen to a child is if he/she is taught to be empathetic and compassionate towards everyone without looking in to the fact whether they are disabled or not and this would go a long way in their development and growth with a better EQ. Wonderful write up. Keep the good work going.

    #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia

  9. I liked the simple frame-work for teaching our kids to be more inclusive – “Be Curious, Listen, Help”. Such Micro habits have power to steer the society toward big results !!!

  10. Be Curious, Listen, Help. So simply and yet beautifully put by you. We all have a moral responsibility to teach our children to be empathetic and accepting of the differences in others. I feel this is the first for them to also accept the differences within themselves.

  11. It’s a simple act of kindness that can make a world of difference in someone’s life. Just by lending an ear, we let them know that they matter and that their feelings are valid. Teaching a child to be polite while expressing curiosity is one of the better gifts you are giving to your child. Great thoughts.

  12. It’s a simple act of kindness that can make a world of difference in someone’s life. Just by lending an ear, we let them know that they matter and that their feelings are valid. Teaching a child to be polite while expressing curiosity is one of the better gifts you are giving to your child.

  13. I wish all todays parents mentor their kids like you to lead equality life. This can change our next generation future. Disability is still a sensitive topic which needs to be normalised. ❤️

  14. Such an important topic especially for young mothers like us who want the next generation to be inclusive. It is one of the greatest lesson that we can share with the younger one. Treat everyone with respect, be curious but also empathise.
    Thanks for a sensitive post.

  15. One of the best gifts you can give your child is the ability to be polite while expressing curiosity. Thank you for sharing some helpful advice, especially about curiosity and listening. I hope more people think this way.

  16. I absolutely appreciate what you wrote about listening and curiosity. Curiosity is indeed important to learn new things daily.

  17. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of helping others. Whether it’s lending a hand to a friend in need, volunteering at a local charity, or simply paying it forward with a kind act, helping others is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Not only does it make the world a better place, but it can also boost your own happiness and sense of well-being.

  18. There are some basic values that all of us need to be sensitised on. We all need to become aware of disability and accept it in a compassionate manner. It’s so nice that you are sensitiising your daughters early in life.

  19. This is an eye opening post. Because when we are indifferent it hurts others and we don’t even realize that is the most painful part. Thanks for this much needed reminder

  20. I really look up to your goal as a mother to give you a more emphatic world. Lets do our part to building a beautiful world you have written about.

  21. Thankyou for your conscious efforts toward educating your girls. I shall follow your lead (with my younger siblings) too 🙂

    Although I have had conversations around disability with them, I will make sure they actively acknowledge and learn from their surroundings going forward

  22. Being curious, being aware, and being available, are small acts that help in understanding other humans. As conscious parents, teaching our kids to be mindful is one beautiful learning we can imbibe.

  23. I absolutely agree with your approach of sensitising our kids. my kids go to a school wherein PWDs are readily admitted. kids learn to do every activity with them, with gentleness required and sometimes no concessions given.they treat each other equally and thats where I think a good start is ensured.

  24. Be Curious, Listen and Help – such fundamental elements in our attitude which make us human. So important for parents to deep dive and embrace this. And also for schools to work with, with the young minds in their midst, nurtuing and moulding an empathetic and inclusive society!

  25. The moment we take out time to listen to others, we open our hearts to them. It’s a simple act of kindness that can make a world of difference in someone’s life. Just by lending an ear, we let them know that they matter and that their feelings are valid. This can be an immensely powerful thing, especially for someone who feels alone or misunderstood. In addition, it also allows us to better understand the people around us and build stronger relationships with them. So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a moment to reach out to someone and really listen to what they have to say. You might just find that it makes all the difference in the world.

  26. I love the point you make about listening. That is a simple act, but can make so much of a difference. Listening is the first step towards understanding. It is also a great way to train ourselves to be more generous – because when we listen, we take the focus off ourselves and we are fully present with our time and emotions for the other person. Kudos for making a conscious effort to raise adults who will be cognizant of the challenges faced by people with needs that are different from themselves.

  27. I really like what you have written about curiosity and listening. Curiosity is a virtue we are born with, which is whittled down by adults in an effort to raise polite individuals!! It does not die down anyhow, but in the absence of the right information, finds answers which may be the opposite of the real one. Teaching a child to be polite while expressing curiosity is one of the better gifts you are giving to your child. Kudos to your whole family.

  28. Important points on empathy and listening. Too often we swing between excessive self-care and excessive other-care. It’s a tricky line to figure out, for when does self-care move into self-centredness and then selfishness? I would venture to say that self-care going hand-in-hand with an attitude of gratitude allows a person to share their life with others who may be more unfortunate in some ways. I think we often forget to treat people in some difficult situations with dignity, be it people with disabilities or even senior citizens. You have a lovely wish for your children!!

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