Equality is a lie – Understanding this is the basis of all great decisions – Gary Keller
What an ironical statement is this in this series on social equality?!
What’s equality then?
E – Equality is a lie. Understanding this is the basis of all great decisions.
Post #5 of the series: Instilling Social Equality in Children
Para athletes cannot compete with athletes. They are not equal in their physical abilities. If they were expected to compete, it will not be fair. Men and women cannot compete in sports. They are not equal in their testosterone levels. If they were expected to compete, it will not be fair. Children and adults cannot compete in sports. They are not equal in their development. If they were expected to compete, it will not be fair. A CEO and a trainee in the same company are not equal in their experience and skills level. A man who works as a porter in the railway station and a man who works as a manager in a bank might not be equal in their economic status. A college graduate and a school drop-out are not equal in their educational levels.
People might not be equal in a certain aspect, like the ones that are underlined. But the problem of social inequality arises when those that are privileged tend to regard the entire existence of the less privileged unworthy. Unmindfully, we all do that. Not that we are mean; but just that the general mindset of the society has been built up that way – to look down upon people who have a disability, the gender that’s less strong, people who have less money than us, and in the list can get as long as human beings can take it to.
Is there something that parents can do to make things better?
It’s a distant dream! But can come to reality at least a thousand years since now if adults like you and me can take small steps. As children continue to grow up, without anyone having to tell them, they observe how people are not equal. But quite often they pick up how to treat people who are not equal from behaviours demonstrated by others. From what my small brain can think of, I came up with these practical behavioural changes that might help:
Stop pitying too much?
Of course sympathizing and feeling pity for others is a great human value. But are we sometimes overdoing it to a point that it robs off the dignity and self-respect of the person? If you were to ask a physically disabled person what kind of social support they would need, most would say that they just want to be treated normal. Let’s see some examples:
Say you are talking to your children about how your house help is struggling to meet her home finances with the meager pay she’s earning.
“So sad, Chitra akka has two kids to take care of. She has to pay their school fees and then pay off that debt. Her life is tough. See, how lucky people like we are.”
When we make this statement, perhaps we are not meaning anything wrong. I, you, and many of us must have made some remarks at some point.
Now, read this:
“What Chitra akka earns is just enough for her family and sometimes not enough. Yet, she is working hard and lives strong to take care of everything. People like her deserve a great respect.”
Do you see the difference in the two statements? The point is we are acknowledging the situation of the other person in both. But while one focusses on how pathetic her situation is, other focusses on how strong and respectable her life is.
To put it short, replacing pity with respect has the potential to shift the ‘looking down upon’ to ‘looking up with respect’.
Trying to see the best in their lives, perhaps what they have that we don’t?
There are a group of construction workers residing with the families adjacent to our place. Often when we go the terrace, my mom would tell my children what a happy life they are living – an open space, breathing fresh air, surrounded by nature, sleeping under the sky, and playing in natural swings. When my children hear this, I can see that their focus immediately shifts to the huge tyre the other children are rolling in the streets, the swing that flows high from the tree branch, and the mud they are free to play with.
Imagine if we had to always tell them what a poor life they are destined to live – a hut house, no electricity, torn clothes, and two meals a day. Well, that’s what our children will tend to see as well.
It’s in our hands to guide our children to see the best of all kinds of lives!
Simply, not making a big deal of the inequality?
Every one in this world have their own struggles to go through.
A rich person can be suffering from chronic health issues. A poor person’s only issue could be money while he can be blessed with the rest in life. A zero-figure woman can have relationship failures, while the plump woman can have a loving partner.
The ‘looking down upon’ thing mostly sprouts from what we see from the outside. If we were to look into the reality of lives, maybe the kind of life problems differ but the underlying existence of problems is common to all.
If as adults we understood this, we wouldn’t make a big deal or even a small statement of the small car the neighbour owns. And if we didn’t, trust me, our children would neither!
Would you like to add something? Please share!