Life is comprised of hundreds of roads on which we travel that shape our experiences and values. Most of us want to walk on the sunny and comfortable paths. I know I did until a few years ago. We have limited time and want to experience ease and joy throughout our life journey. But some dare to explore less appealing roads which reveal sides of the world that most of us don’t even know exist. Let’s face it- it’s easier not to know.
The Path to Becoming a Humanitarian
I traveled down one of these roads last summer in Africa and since then, my perspective on life has been forever changed. While I’ve always been interested in people who devote their lives to humanitarian causes, I’ve never felt compelled to be a humanitarian myself. That is, until I saw humanity in its most tragic state. Contaminated water, no food, almost no rain to grow crops, starvation, and a country where citizens make an average of less than $2/day. I had read and heard about this, but to see it with my own eyes was different. If you saw a person suffering on the road, you would feel compelled to help, right? You wouldn’t be able to turn your back. My posts here and here describe my Kenya experience in more detail.
Since returning from my trip, I find myself more curious about people who devote their lives to helping others. How did they get here? How were their lives different before? I love hearing people’s stories in general. But learning about how someone chooses a life of service now resonates more with me.
Teaching Kids Compassion
Yesterday, I met humanitarian, Nimo Patel, who was visiting our local elementary school to perform at an assembly to teach empathy and gratefulness through his music and videos. I loved how he engaged the kids. He got them excited. He had them singing the words to his songs which are full of inspiration. The kids were dancing. The teachers were singing and dancing! It was a great 30 minutes spent in my day.
I found this article written about Nimo on Huffington Post which shares his touching story of how he came to live a life of service. It made me respect him even more.
Kids are by nature, selfish. My kids in middle school are 100% in the me, me, me stage. But I was just like them in my teen years. It’s hard to break through the self centered shell, but I think it’s possible.
I believe in the importance of teaching kids compassion and empathy in school, starting at an early age! The more our children know about the world around us outside of ourselves, the better chance we have in raising good people.
The following video is a small bit of Nimo’s assembly at our elementary school (Grandview). My kids are now in middle school. But the principal, Nancy Doyle, informed me he would be performing. I’m grateful she did!
The next video is one of Nimo’s popular songs. It will make you smile! Visit Nimo’s website here to learn more about his work.
Thank you for inspiring our kids, Nimo! And for inspiring me. Thank you, Nancy, for finding Nimo (pun intended)!
So, what makes someone become a humanitarian? I’m still learning, but I’ll let you know when I have the answers. And my kids? I’m working on helping them become compassionate people who want to give back. Time will tell if I’m successful!