‘Never judge a book by its cover.’
Chances are, we already know this saying by heart. But as humans, there is an unconscious bias. It is a natural thing for us to err and make prior judgements, even as adults.
What more for young children who has yet to learn how to be discerning for themselves?
A Singaporean dad hit a little too close to home with that in his recent Facebook post, on the Father and son page.
Dad’s Examples Of Showing Empathy Through Comic On Migrant Workers
“What to tell your children if they say this,” wrote the Singaporean dad, Calvin Soh.
The comic is a part of Soh’s collection of conversations between the Father and son, alongside with his reflections and stories on raising his child.
It is a topic so close to our hearts. The migrant worker that happens to sit beside us on the MRT; the migrant worker that drives the garbage truck as [some] unknowingly wince at the putrid smell; the occasional stories we might hear from family and friends about them.
You definitely won’t be a stranger to what the dad describes next in his illustration:
It starts off with a son making a remark that sounds like rude behaviour (until you know it).
Son: “Dad, can I not sit there. He smells!”
A sad, but unfortunately common example of a usual passing comment on migrant workers.
While you might think the dad would just scoop his child up and move elsewhere, his reply was unexpected.
Dad: “You know what he smells of? He smells of someone who had to work 14 hours a day.”
The dad puts things in perspective, stating only the facts, instead of adding fuel to the fire.
“He smells of someone doing work we don’t want to do. He smells of someone who had to pay a dodgy agent for the privilege of working here.”
Now, we’re talking.
He further spills about the cold hard truth that migrant workers face while working in a foreign country like Singapore, being labelled as second class citizens.
But the key takeaway here is…
Empathy At The Heart Of The Matter
“He smells of someone who misses his family. Who would see his child every two years.”
If you’re a parent just like this ‘migrant worker’, this will definitely tug on your heartstrings. After all, what parents want most for their children is to be able to provide for them.
“And he’s probably aware people think he smells.”
Here, the dad displays empathy and its impact is profound.
“In fact, he probably smells like your great grandfather when he first came to Singapore.”
The dad makes an association to his own father to bridge the gap for his child. It further illustrates that migrant workers or not, there should be no divide.
The rest is left to your own interpretation.
At last, the comic ends with the son sitting next to the migrant worker.
We’re left thinking: did the son truly understand the meaning of empathy?
Though we will never know, this Singaporean dad’s comic certainly did shed some important points for all parents and kids to ponder about.
Netizens Chime In On Examples Of Showing Empathy
While Facebook user, Teh Reem, said that the comic was a “good cartoon to raise awareness”, she felt that it could be done more effectively.
Some food for thought, perhaps.
And it’s great that we can talk about these, without forgetting the humour!
More Series To Come?
Looks like the Singaporean dad has gotten himself some fans. Facebook user Lisa Ng asked the dad if a series could be in the pipeline.
We can’t be certain, but we are certainly looking forward!
That said, parents, teaching empathy to your kids does not have to come in over the top actions. Even in the most mundane of situations, it can be role-modelled, and that’s what is most important.
Parents, do you teach empathy to your kids? Do you think this Singaporean dad’s examples of showing empathy is brilliant?
All images credits to Father and son.
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