As we enter the 7th month of the year, we have very little to look back at in 2020. What started off as a new year full of promise changed suddenly and unexpectedly in March. Since the past 4 months we have all been in the same storm – full of uncertainty, confusion and fear. And the remaining few months of the year don’t look like they’ll be much better either. All the plans we had, whether for our work or for what the year would look like for our children have all gone up in smoke before our eyes. It brings to mind the simple adage - Man proposes, God disposes, and makes one realize how powerless we actually are in the grand scheme of things. We organize and plan meticulously, we feel like we know exactly what is going to happen in the next 6 months or a year, and then the universe changes its plans. Just like that.
The only thing that is still in our control in these crazy times is what is within us. The power to strengthen our mind and soul .The power to keep ourselves happy and strong and to help people who come in touch with us do the same. To do every small bit we can to make the world around us a better place.
It’s at times like this that kindness and goodness play a huge part in helping humanity get back on its feet. A single kind deed by someone can have a massive butterfly effect around the world and mend a million hearts along the way.
This is the time to teach our children how to be kind, how to help one another, how to be more compassionate and how to give open-heartedly. We are privileged to be part of the population that is still sitting comfortably at home to social-distance ourselves, working from home, doing remote-learning and ordering our groceries online so we don’t have to meet anyone. There are countless others who have no option but to live in close proximity with others, share toilets, stand in lines for basic grocery and in the worst cases, not know where their next meal comes from. This is the reality of a country like ours and every one of those people need as much help as we can give them to resume any semblance of a normal life when this is over and not collapse along the way. This is the time for us all to rise together as one and to pick up those around us.
When I started Scift, (a service that lets people give & receive donations to a charity of their choice rather than exchange physical gifts) a lot of people asked me how I thought it would be possible to convince little children to not get gifts for their birthday and instead collect money for charity. And while that sounds like something that could elicit a few tears, it’s actually quite the opposite - if from the time a child is little, we get them talking about helping others and giving to charity, it’s astonishing how fast that becomes a part of their life and value system. When my daughter was 3, I started talking to her about how she has a big toy cupboard bursting with stuff and how there are children around us who don’t have the same things - including a happy home. Slowly she started understanding what I was telling her.. So when her 6th birthday came around, instead of working to convince her, I simply had to ask her if she was happy to donate and she was. That’s the change we, as young parents, can bring about - a whole generation of children growing up grateful that they have enough and making an effort to help those around them who don’t. If we include conversations about charity, donation and helping the less fortunate in our daily conversations, our children will grow up feeling empowered to help. It will become a part of their belief system and that’s how we can affect true change in the years to come.
Even today, in the midst of this scary experience we can try and change the dialogue at home for them to learn from what could otherwise be just a scary experience.. We can make it a time for them to look beyond themselves and see how they can better another life. We can enrich their experience of a lockdown by doing one simple good deed for another. And it doesn’t always have to be just giving money. You can help a poor out-of-work family by giving them some ration for the coming month or if you’re buying yourself a new computer or smartphone, you can give your old one to a child whose parents can’t afford one for his e-learning. When a child sees or does a good deed, it rewires their memory of a bad time to a time when someone needed help and they could provide it. And that to me is a powerful thing and the best thing we can do for them right now.
If every one of us does one small good deed a day it creates a chain reaction in the world around us, and if we can make a chain of kindness around us and keep it going, we can all emerge from this crisis much stronger and happier. We can help another person feel better about his day. And that’s all we need to do today at a time when we can do little else. Let’s stay together, stay strong, stay happy and do good.
Together, let’s make the post-Covid world a kinder place.
This article is contributed by Bhavna Kanoria, Founder of Scift.
Scift is pioneering the concept of social gifting in India, through which, on their special events, people can give or receive donations to a charity of their choice instead of physical gifts. To read more about them, please visit www.scift.com