Less I, more Us
Been more than 10 years since I did any volunteer work . Since I left school, I had been busy chasing life, romance, work, and everything else about MYSELF and never about others.
I finally broke that streak last weekend, as my family and I participated in Blossom World Society‘s Flag Day event. It was our FIRST ever volunteer activity together as a family, and may this will be the start of many more to come.
We signed up for this event about 3 weeks back. While weekends are precious for the family, we thought we could perhaps try doing something for others, instead of filling up the weekend with visits to all sorts of places of attractions and activities, trying to “clock” as many activities for ourselves.
It was a humbling day, as I continued to learn to shrink my own ego, and learnt to put others before me. Ah Gan and I boldly went out and made sure we were all smiles to every single stranger we saw, and we were thankful to everyone of them, regardless whether they donated.
A sincere smile can really melt the heart of others and make their day. Just by us taking the initiative to smile, many strangers smiled in return, happily stopped in their busy foot steps to make a little donation, or simply brightened up. Others got curious about the organisation which we were doing this fund raising for. I was very delighted to see the kindness bloom in people, and I hope it will continue to spread in their daily lives.
Throughout the day, I was pleasantly surprised. When I approached strangers who displayed a “sulky” or “nonchalant” facial expression, I was apprehensive about their reaction. However, some of them actually warmed up almost immediately with a smile, or was more than ready for a conversation. While there were also a handful who brushed me off in a seemingly rude manner, I imagined that they must have had a bad day, or was probably going through a tough period in their lives. With that, I wished them a good day ahead nonetheless, with some in slight shock why someone would be chirpy even after getting rejected.
I guess the biggest lesson I realised was that I really do not have the ability to judge others, because I can NEVER TRULY understand how others feel or the circumstances that they are going through deep down. It is with this that I continue to choose the path of empathy for others instead of aggression/anger, because the former will work me closer to the people who I want to bring joy to, while the latter will not make anyone’s life any better.
If there was anything K learnt last weekend, it was three repeated phrases of “Would you like to make a Donation?” , “Thank you so much”, “Donae!!!!! tion!!!!!”. While we did not attend any particular activity in a “kiasu” (afraid of losing) attempt to let him gain more knowledge about the world, I felt it was very meaningful getting him involved with the fund raising, as we all learned how to actualise our kind intentions.
Together with K, we tried to live the values which we believed in through the Flag Day event, and I hope it would a go long way for all 3 of us. Reflecting at our decision to join the Flag Day last weekend, I felt it was the best decision we could have made as a family, parents and individuals.
Less of me, more of others.
Submitted by Papa Leow
Have a story of an act of kindness that touched you? Share with us! Let us work together to share the graciousness in our community and inspire more to give. Down the road, compassion will definitely be part of Singaporean’s 5 Cs.