Long ago, I deleted my Facebook account, which in my opinion is a beneficial activity only when used with control. I have forgotten almost every single status, post, photo and video I had watched there. However, there is one thing I still remember and it is one of the most invaluable lessons I have learned in life.
One of my friends shared the following quote:
Teaching your child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.
My eldest child was quite young at that time. Since then, whenever I saw a spider, caterpillar or some other insect in the house, I used to make them walk on a tissue paper, fold it, drop the insect outside in the grass and throw the tissue paper in the bin. When a child asked why I was doing it, I replied: if I kill them, it will hurt them as much as it hurts you; we should be empathetic to the their pain as well.
In a hypothetical situation where parents and schools could teach just one value to the kids and nothing else, I would vote for teaching empathy. This is not only the key to most relationship problems but also to most of the world’s problems as well. There have been numerous history books written about wars and catastrophes which merely reduce these tragedies to numbers and other ‘hard’ statistics and encounters. Sometimes, I wish there was a history book which could describe in detail how many wars were fought, deaths were caused and societies were decimated due to big egos, intense greed and a horrifying lack of empathy. That history book on actual ‘soft’ reasons behind major problems might not sell well but it will be a great read for those who want to learn and move the society forward.
Needless to say, years of this tissue paper practice and the children comprehensively embraced the message of empathy. And I am grateful to Facebook for that.