Constant Kindness

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

-Elie Wiesel- 

My mentor once told me, real kindness seeks no return. I never knew the meaning of those words till I visited the public library this past Tuesday morning.  Having been an Accountant by profession, I was trained to seek deficits, profits, returns and long term investments. Never charity, and definitely no pro bono services.

So here I was at the library to renew my borrowers card. I was in line when I saw these group of people, mostly adults in there 30’s -40’s. And they were reading childrens books. My curiosity led me to ask the librarian what was going on at that side of library. She said that it’s a community literacy program. What happened next came as a surprise, as the librarian suddenly asked me —  Would you like to volunteer? We’re short of three people. I’m sure we can use your help.  Now, what was I to say?

To make the long story short, I said yes. I’m not exactly english proficient, but I’m willing to give it a try. This will keep busy for a little while. Besides, it’s only twice a week and two hours long. So it wouldn’t be that much of a hassle. Half hour later, I was given two students. A lady named, Reshma and her husband Jasbir, both from Jaipur, India.

The couple were very eager to learn. They were able to read a whole paragraph, except for a couple mispronouncements. Writing was a bit tough. They had a hard time writing in script, so I settled with there handwriting. They were legible, but they could be better. They just needed more practice. But then again, they just started the program. So I can’t be knit picky!

Two hours has passed and I didn’t realized our session was over. Never in my whole life have I known that teaching can be fun. Reshma and Jasbir thanked me for helping them, they gave me a big warm hug. In return, I told them that they were excellent students and quick learners. Suddenly, Reshma got teary eyed and I just had to asked her why. She said to me, It’s nice that someone is treating us like equals, like you. I didn’t bother asking for an explanation, I knew exactly what she meant. I gave Reshma another hug and asked her to smile.

In a world filled with bigotry and vainglorious people, one person can easily feel inferior if he or she is not equipt with tools-of-the-trade (literacy included). I myself have been mocked for my accent. It’s given as I was born in the islands. Duhhh? At least I’m not pretending to be someone I am not. Now, how about those people who has no knowledge at all of the english language? Do we simply look down at them? Blame them for there ignorance. What if they were born poor and unable to afford proper education. Do they deserve to be treated like second rate citizens?

Reshma and Jasbir are kindhearted people. They’re both smart in there own right. I don’t think they should feel terrible not being highly educated and all. I think it’s those discrimininative, vainglorious and disdain people, who should feel horrible. For the ignorant and imbecilic person that they are. 

What good is there in putting people down and making them feel inferior? I say, it only cultivates more hatred.

Library

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6 comments

  1. dang · March 25, 2008

    wow, i’m impressed with your new volunteer work! and of course, the whole write-up about what youve learned from this experience. sabi ko na nga ba kaya ka lalong bline-bless ni Lord eh kasi you have a beautiful heart! maybe God willed it that you would renew your borrower’s card and then, renew someone’s spirit after signing up as a volunteer!

    about the accent, my classmates would make fun of my accent whenever i would present or join a study group! anong magagawa ko sa pilipina ako, sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa? i have learned that when you try to teach something expect nothing in return, in the end, you are the one who has learned a lesson. god bless you! 🙂

    thanks so much, dang. and don’t be impressed, cause this was a total accident. yet i am thankful for doing volunteer work, at least i’m doing something to keep me busy and sane. hahahah! and i agree with you, maybe this is God’s way of teaching me a lesson about life and kindness. i’m not exactly the nicest person there is, but am always happy to lend a helping hand and share whatever knowledge i gained through all these years.

    as for that accent, i learned to ignore people’s preposterous comments. big deal ba talaga ang magka-accent? hmmm, i beg to differ. our accent helps us stand out from the rest (don’t you think?) and it’s a reflection of our rich culture. dba? thanks again for the kind words, dang. God bless you, too. mwaaaah 😀

  2. iris · March 26, 2008

    i think you’ve found a calling, nell 🙂 teaching can be such a fulfilling task, but it sure needs you to be patient. and i remembered something lang about giving yourself away. it’s during those times that you actually get rid of your selfishness little by little. not that im saying you’re selfish, pero you know what i mean 🙂

    by the way, i have a tag for you: http://www.naptimerocks.com/2008/03/25/iris-the-visionary-advocate/ 🙂

    thanks iris. i’m not exactly the most patient person in this planet, but i’m keeping my options open. if God wants me to do social work or teaching, then i will gladly do it. pero i must appeal na kong pwede eh social work nalang, heheheh. baka kasi maubos ang pasensya ko, hahahah.

    and what you said is true, things are much clearer when we get rid of selfishness. and masarap ang feeling pag nakakatulong tayo. dba? i don’t want to sound like i’m preaching, but here’s one quote that explains kindness and selfishness:

    I’ve never known any human being, high or humble, who ever regretted, when nearing life’s end, having done kindly deeds. But I have known more than one million and more who became haunted by the realization that they had led selfish lives.
    thanks for your kind comment, dear. have a wonderful day, mwaaah 😀

    ps: will gladly do your tag, thanks

  3. Leap of Faith! · March 27, 2008

    Nell, that was such a nice experience. Mukhang God really wanted you to be in the library (and touch peoples lives). You have a kind heart kasi you could have easily turned down the invitation of the librarian but you chose not to. We need more people like you in this world.

    PS: Your library is so nice…

    hello keith. looks like it was God’s plan nga, my lola says the same thing. eka nga nya, maybe He’s bringing me back to his flock raw. but it’s not like i was lost, i never was. and speaking of this experience, though it hasn’t been that long. i feel very pleased, like there’s much more to just helping people read, write and speak english. i couln’t pin point it, but surely there’s more to this. thanks so much for the kind words, natouch naman ako sa sinabi mo 😉

    ps: i was also very suprised to see our newly renovated community library. matagal tagal na kasi akong di nadalaw don eh, heheheh.

  4. Pinky · March 27, 2008

    Patience has never been one of my virtues so it really is a struggle for me to teach people (even my own kids!) so I can’t help but admire you for doing the literacy volunteer work – bravo to you! 🙂 You certainly are blessed so that you may become a blessing to others. May your tribe increase! Mwaaah!

    maraming salamat, pinky. ako rin kaya eh medyo maiksi ang pasensya. i just try to calm myself down, and constantly bare in mind that they’re in need of help. kaya nga sila nagpapatulong, dba? tsaka ever since i started with this volunteer work, i feel like i’ve fulfilled yet another purpose in life. thanks again, mwaaah 😀

  5. Meeya · March 27, 2008

    some look down on illiterate people thinking that they’re ignorant. pero sa totoo lang, those who look down on others, well, sila yung ignorant! lahat naman ng tao may inherent qualities that make them what they are. perhaps for some, yun nga wala silang opportunities to learn how to read and write, pero baka naman magaling sila sa art, or they are great chefs, or dancers, or carpenters, or something. literacy can be very empowering, pero like any other power, it has to be used with responsibility and with humility.

    i’m so proud of you and what you did at the library! e ano nga kung may accent tayo or what, i don’t pretend to have a slang kasi if they want to understand me, they’d have to learn to look past my matigas na dila, hehe.

    kindness begets kindness, so i’m sure you’ll be tenfold blessed by this. *muah*

    BIG thanks to you, meeya. for that kind and heartwarming comment. and as the saying goes — the greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. dba? mas mabuti na yong sabihin nating wala tayong alam, rather than pretending that we know better. and i so love and appreciate the eagerness of people who wanted to learn. they have this sort of high spirited outlook, don’t you think?

    as for the accent thingy, screw those people who makes fun of us. i firmly believe that these vainglorious folks will eventually meet there karma. and you know what they say about payback, right? so let’s spread kindness — live, love, learn and be happy 😀

  6. munchkinmommy · March 27, 2008

    nell, i commend you for doing volunteer work. 🙂 i hope to do some of my own din. before, what was holding me back was the uncertainty of how long we’ll be staying here or if we’ll be moving to another state. and since medyo certain na, i can perhaps pursue this. cross fingers! it’s a promise i made to Him. 😉 thank you for the inspiration! 😀 hugs and kisses to you! mmmwah!

    ps: magpapaturo na lang ako kay abby nang tamang paraan nang pagpronounce ng words. hahaha! tutal siya, sleng at me eccent. nyahahaha!

    thank you, weng. kakataba naman ng puso ang sinabi mo. ayan at natouch ang bakla, hahaha. speaking of volunteer work, it’s definitely rewarding. there’s this feeling of calmness and warmth. i wish you all the best with your plans, and please tell us about it hah. at tungkol naman dyan sa accent, it’s what makes us unique. don’t you think 😉

    ps: ako rin eh papaturo kay nicho, habang tinuturuan ko naman syang mag-bisaya. hahaha 😛

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