If worded sermons were enough, all the world would have been a better place to live. If reading about values and then following them to the T was the most natural progression, then there would be no strife on this earth.
A child never learns from what you tell them but only from how you act or react in real time situations. Sadly we live in times of distrust, arrogance and indifference. But I learnt that a simple smile with no strings attached can lift your spirit and create positive vibes.
In our recent trip to Germany, we were seated in front of an old German couple on the train. They had no reason to acknowledge our presence. But seeing that my tired younger daughter was sitting away from us they made space so she could sit with her mother. They smiled at us. The old gentleman tried to talk to us and we realised that we had no common language to communicate. He tried hard in German and we did our best in English. Then we all gave it up and just smiled at each other. The journey that would have otherwise been spent admiring the landscape, turned meaningful. We gradually learnt that they had grandchildren about my daughters' age through sign language. The lady showed me their pictures that she carried around in her bag.
Long after they got off, the feel good warmth remained. My daughter said," Ma, it started with a smile."
Yes, so it did. I learnt that we may not be able to bring in great changes in a day. But we could make our environment healthy with just a smile. This could lead to tolerance, respect and acceptance of diversity. And from here, all the other values can be extended and emphasised. It leads to willingness to help each other, to follow civilized way of day to day living like waiting for your turn, and not being rude.
I do hope my daughters also learnt what I did from the old couple on the train.