In our last post, we have showed you a video on people giving up their coat to a freezing kid. We asked the question: “Would you do the same?”
Meditatingmummy, one of our kind readers, said very nicely, “Yes!” I am glad she did. Thanks! It feels good.
Honestly, it was not so easy for me to answer that question. I had to think twice for myself. I would love to be a great person and be so affirmative, but the truth is, I am not. In the video, the kid is a cute boy, well dressed and well educated. What would I do with a child dressed in rags, smelling and not so cute?
Several years ago, I was still leaving in Lyon, in France. One Sunday morning, my husband, kids, and I were driving by a street. We saw an old woman surrounded by a young boy and a young girl dressed like children from Eastern Europe from another time. They were stretching their hands to her, begging for money, touching her arm, talking at the same time. The poor woman looked scared and confused. My husband stopped the car and got out, starting to walk toward them. When he called out to them, the kids ran down the street. As I was looking at them running, I saw a woman standing at the corner of the street waiting for them. I could not hear what she said, but she didn’t look happy when she checked the kids’ hands.
My husband offered to drive the old woman home, but she was living nearby and a neighbor whom had witnessed the scene from a window was already stepping into the street to take her home.
Going back home that day, I felt horrible. Here were some kids, definitively in trouble, but I was not doing anything to help. Would I give my jacket to them? I must be honest and say I would not. I knew that my coat would end up in the hands of another adult somewhere who does not care for these kids, but use them for money. I felt helpless.
So, at this question: “Would I give my jacket to a freezing kid?” my honest and realistic answer is “I don’t know. Would it really help if I did?”
I am not feeling proud of myself after saying that. Like anybody else, I love to be nice to others. It gives me a fantastic feeling of worthlessness. I would be thrilled to know that I can do something to change things, but I am not naïve, I cannot save the whole world alone.
Maybe some of you are like me, willing to help but with the sensation that is like filling with a water a bottom less jar. Another drop of water in the ocean.
At the question “How can we help to end global poverty? Where do we start?” Desmond Tutu, Peace Nobel prize winner, answered:
“How do we eat an elephant? One piece at a time.”
Yes, we can do nothing by ourselves for global poverty, for endless war, craziness and horror in this whole wild world ruled by the “each man for himself” law.
Yet, what about we start looking to what is right in this world? Perhaps, we would discover that in fact cooperation is the main motivator of all human beings. Then, we can try to be nicer and compassionate one person at a time, starting with ourselves. Because when we feel good about ourselves, we are good with others.
Maybe, it’s time to get out our comfort zone, stop thinking that we are helpless and useless, and stop looking elsewhere too. We are part of a whole and every act of kindness counts, if not for the world itself then for the person we do it for. A smile, an open hand, etc. are a good places to start – the jacket may come later. All together we can create a change, little by little, on piece at a time.
After all, oceans are made up of drops of water.