Tag: compassion

On the power of small things

Wow!  Two posts in one day.  I know, right?  But I saw this and it was simply too good not to share immediately (and not just because it features one of the most spectacular pieces of music ever composed).

So, it’s an advertisement for a bank (they call it an homage to their city…sure) and the bit with the girl was probably set up, but that does not make this video any less powerful.

Because the truth is, the smallest of gestures can often put great things in motion.  A smile.  A kind word.  A miniscule act of self-sacrifice.  A moment of putting another first.  An instant of compassion.

There’s this thing called the law of unintended consequences, usually applied to economics or politics, but it has bearing in our everyday lives as well.  That small act that you deem insignificant, that you maybe not even perform intentionally, can potentially have consequences that are infinitely bigger than the original act.

You might never see those results, but trust that your actions do have consequences, even the little ones.

So start paying attention to those little things you can do every day to make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small.  You might just be surprised at the result.

On getting the facts right

This is not what I had planned for today.  But I needed to vent.  In fact, I needed to vent last night but didn’t feel like powering up the computer at 11pm for a rant.

I finally finished Inferno last night.  That in itself is reason to rant, but the full review is on its way.  However, on the tedious slog to the finish line I came across a sentence that quite literally made me cringe.

On page 434 of the hardcover edition Mr Brown uses this sentence:  “And the HIV virus attacked the immune system, causing the disease AIDS.”

In South Africa HIV and AIDS is a pretty big issue, with about a third of the population infected and more than two thirds affected.  In the people-oriented professions like social work, counselling, teaching, community development and the medical professions it is something we have to deal with every day.  Consequently, during my studies the facts about this condition was thoroughly drilled into my mind (and I’m reading a book about it again for my Master’s) and I get quite riled up if people spout a bunch of nonsense about it. Continue reading “On getting the facts right”

On the importance of context

My wife is a remedial teacher at a primary school situated in a coloured township.  (See bottom of post for a short explanation of the terms ‘coloured’ and ‘township’ as they are used in South Africa.)  Her school has a large proportion of children experiencing barriers to learning (the new, politically correct term for ‘learning disability’), and her job is to help them catch up in those areas of the work (generally Math and language skills) where they are struggling.  Some days she comes home dejected, convinced that she’s not making any progress, the next she’s so excited about a kid that had a breakthrough she can’t stop chattering about it.

Yesterday, though, she regaled me with a story of something that happened in her colleague’s second-grade class that made me think about the role that contextual analysis play in tasks such as teaching.  Her colleague was trying to teach the children about subtracting.  She used the terms ‘take away’ and ‘make less’ to explain the concept, but to no avail.  The children simply could not get it. Continue reading “On the importance of context”