“The worst thing we can do is sit in our own privilege and slap something on them without understanding and having compassion for where they are. This takes time!”
Many of us have without always necessarily knowing it have lived a privileged life. I first realized this when I became a teacher and taught in my first Title I school. I learned this same lesson now as I read Social Justice material since the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Today’s quote by Inspirational speaker, Social Justice Advocate and Founder/CEO of the RISE program Diana Patton’s serves as a great reminder and a sort of reality check in my life. We must remove our own perception/perspective on things and reserve judgement based on our own experiences with something as someone else may be going through a difficult time in what they may be facing. We must practice grace and compassion.
Grace and compassion was our district’s and school’s them for the Spring 2020 semester when COVID 19 first hit. Our staff, students and their families encountered something that many had never faced before: a pandemic. This not only affected their lives physically but mentally and financially. Lost jobs, lost homes and just trying to make ends meet became the daily focus. In education those specific areas just mentioned always had been a part of the every day life of being in a Title I school with the number of families we worked with but it never had it been discussed and talked about as much as it was during this certain point in time.
Knowing the struggles of the families I worked alongside with over the years made me realize how blessed I was to have two loving parents and come from a non-divorced home, have a roof over my head and given hot meals all the time. I was fortunate to have an education and go to college. I appreciated all of this without a doubt but more so when I went out in the real world and witnessed first hand those less fortunate. I promised myself never to forget how privileged a life I was given and to always look through the lens of others and reserve judgement by replacing it with that grace and compassion I mentioned earlier.
When we practice grace and compassion towards others that we know and do not know on a daily basis we are living an empathetic life. We allow ourselves to appreciate diversity, respect one another and their own current reality in whatever challenges or struggles they may be facing. As Diana Patton says this all takes time. We must be patient and understanding. Sometimes all we have to do is be there for someone to make that difference in their lives. So let’s start today, put our own privilege aside and open our hearts to others.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards becoming more socially aware?