Do Right… The Earlier, The Better

That year Aaryan’s birthday was on a holiday. Though a party with his friends was planned in the evening, but a major part of the day was devoid of any activity for the birthday boy.

While, we were brainstorming about the things we could do to continue the celebrations, right from the morning till night, KG suggested that we visit the SOS Children’s Village. As part of his company’s CSR, he and his colleagues had visited the SOS Children’s Village, a few days ago, for sponsoring the education of senior students. We immediately made plans to visit the place and bought snacks, biscuits, sweets, chocolates and other food items.

We had read enough in the media, seen the pictures on the notice boards of institutions, heard a few stories about children in orphanages. But what we experienced there cannot be described in words.

We were given a tour of the entire property.  What we saw there moved our souls. There were some 80 kids of all ages. Seeing a few toddlers was heart-rending, and when one 2 year old started bawling to be in my arms than that of the care-taker, it just broke my heart.

While KG went with the Manager of the Home to discuss some official details, the children surrounded Aaryan and me and asked us if we would like to see their dormitory.

All the kids in the dorm tried to seek our attention. Some showed us their books, some toys, a girl showed her embroidered kurta, and some their drawings. Every child had a smile on his/her face. While, I was chatting with the kids and asking them about their favorite subjects at school or the games they enjoyed, a few boys asked Aaryan, if he would play with them. He agreed readily. While they were playing with the ball, a boy of Aaryan’s age asked him, “How does it feel to stay with your parents? They must love you a lot!!”

I turned around to see Aaryan’s reaction. He was stunned. A boy of 7 must have never thought about this question ever. But it hit him somewhere.

On our way back he had a lot of questions. We told him that there are so many vulnerable children who spend their childhood in orphanages, without the love and care of a family. The lucky ones still get food, clothes, bed, an education and a roof over their heads in such institutions. But there are so many who have no access to even the basic needs and struggle on their own from such a young age. We discussed about how life would be in general for these kids, their experiences, their feelings. We talked about thinking from their perspectives, trying to be in their shoes. We explained how a small effort or a smile or a word of encouragement can brighten somebody’s life…

And that birthday was a starting point of lessons for Aaryan in compassion. It is a ritual to visit SOS Children’s Village and Mother Teresa’s Home, every now and then. At these places, he…

  • Serves food to the kids and the elderly
  • Plays games with the children at the orphanage
  • Talks to the lonely and hurting elderly people at the Mother Teresa Home
  • Shares toys, clothes, books with the children
  • Smiles at everybody he meets.

Few months ago, we were waiting at the traffic signal. A small child selling some paper napkins saw Aaryan fidgeting with the McDonald’s Happy Meal toy, which he had got a few minutes ago. Before we knew what was happening, Aaryan rolled down his side of the car window and gave the toy to that child. Both the kids exchanged a smile.

They say, compassion is something that can be taught and developed; the earlier, the better! I am glad that my child is learning and practicing this lesson of life from a very young age.

I am sharing my Do Right Stories at in association with Tata Capital.

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56 thoughts on “Do Right… The Earlier, The Better

  1. Shilpa this was completely a different way of celebrating birthdays which I myself feel should be the norm now. Reading your post I am reminded of one of my trips in school to an survivors home, where people from all walks of life abandoned are given shelter. Perhaps I will write a post, thanks for inspiring me. Soon I will also write a post…
    Richa Singh recently posted…Like you know me better than I know myselfMy Profile

  2. You are guiding Aaryan in the right direction. Congratulations.

    When we visit an orphanage it breaks our heart. Two years ago, when we came to India on vacation, we provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 3 days to an orphanage in Chennai. We did not just give the money. We arranged with a restaurant and carried the food in a truck and served all the kids and staff. On the third day, a 5 year old kid came to me and asked: Uncle, will you be coming here every day for us?. Me, a grown man, cried.

  3. The best gift any child can get is being taught how to be a good human, of course it cannot be taught completely, but being guided in that direction… Aaryan is lucky to have you for a guide and you are lucky to have a sensible and sensitive kid Shilpa 🙂
    Reshma recently posted…BeachMy Profile

  4. This post reminded me of my first and only visit to Orphange. On death anniversary of my grandparent my dad and his nephew arranged a meal for orphange..there were kids randing from 6 months to 16year..Each having a smile on thier face despite their limited means. I was too moved to see small kids doing their all work themself.Also caretaker’s will to serve the society..ITs so tough for us to raise one or two kids and there are ppl who are taking care of 100 + kids with all their heart and sould into it.. I always wanted to take angel to orphange to distribute stuff and also interact with those ppl..Will make this visit soon now…
    rashmi recently posted…Finally – UBC Day 31My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Rashmi! It is so disturbing and heart breaking too see such innocent and sweet kids without the love and affection of their families!! A visit to these homes is always overwhelming. Their smiles, questions, their looks keep flashing in front of your eyes! Meeting such kids is a humbling experience!
      Shilpa Garg recently posted…Those Were The Best Days of My Life!My Profile

  5. We hv been to SOS couple of times … Its indeed heartbreaking for a child to wonder how it is to stay wih his own parents rt…

    • Just doing our bit, LP.
      That’s a wonderful suggestion. Some schools do take up some social work sometimes, but it should become a regular feature, so that kids learn important values in life early!

  6. Pingback: Winners of the Do Right Stories Contest at BlogAdda.

  7. Indeed, Aryan is lucky to have his parents guide him in this noble direction from such a tender age. My son had also joined me when I took him to the Mother Teresa home to celebrate my birthday there and helped me distribute sweets there. Although he’s a teenager now he loved the experience and the innocent interactions with the people there.
    Guess we all should adapt this way of birthday celebrations. It does add value to our lives and the people at the home’s lives as well.
    Vinodini Iyer recently posted…A Block for the Writer’s Block!My Profile

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