As with many on the road, while driving alone, many thoughts can be triggered as things happen around you. On this occasion I was on my way to pick up my daughter from school during this period of abnormality dictated by the pandemic. At a number of intersections there are always people begging, selling something or trying to get you to pay them for something you did not ask for like washing your windows. With all of this you sort of develop different strategies to avoid them like looking the other way, not coming to a complete stop or gesturing that you don’t have money etc. I guess we each have our own strategies.
On this particular day seeing one of the usual beggars I was reminded of two lessons taught to me by two young children. Before getting into the lessons I would like to share with you some random introspection and musings I have been pondering. We are all a product of genetics, upbringing, experiences and influences. This shapes our opinions, morals, actions and even our prejudices. Most of us try do the right thing and show that we care. Societal struggles, the media, our developed prejudices, consumerism, and our influenced opinions have largely, either made us numb to the plight of others or made us only focus on ourselves and our needs. Yes, we still show care and concern, but only to those we believe are deserving. Some might even make a show of being caring so as to be recognized or for the proverbial pat on the back. In all of our giving and caring let us always consider our motive. Now for the lessons.
The first lesson was on my way to drop off my daughter at her pre-school when she was only 4 years old. We passed a man selling newspapers and as normal I gestured that I don’t have any cash on me and was called out by my daughter in a very subtle way. She first asked me what did the man want. At that time I was always uncomfortable with these conversations as I knew that with each question there was always an ulterior motive. I however, with all her interjecting why’s, told her that he was selling newspapers to make a living. She questioned why am I not buying from him. I explained that I get the newspaper at work. Her answer to my excuse was whether, me getting the newspaper from work for free helps the man selling on the street. She also pointed out that I did have enough coins in the ashtray to buy from the man. A good lesson in considering others.
The second lesson was on my way to pick up my daughter from ballet with two young children. They are both much younger than my daughter, but absolutely adore my daughter. On our way, at an intersection, a beggar approached the car. I quickly gestured that I don’t have anything when the young girl, at the time 5 years old, asked what did he want. I explained that he was begging for money or food. She asked why and I explained that he probably does not have any. She really took pity on the man and quickly responded that she has something to give the beggar, but by that time I had already driven off. She insisted that we are not far and can just drive around the block and still be in time to pick up my daughter. Even though I felt it was an inconvenience I drove around the block and she gave the man her lunch that she had and I, feeling a little guilty, gave him some of the change I had in the ashtray. Again a lesson in care and consideration.
Contemplating on these lessons and seeing all those in need on the street corners, I was reminded that it is never an inconvenience to care and be kind. It also reminded me that we have to get over ourselves to just buy the newspaper and drive around the block.