OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Bridging the gap with kindness and empathy

I have two stories, while being mugged, one man managed to convince his assailant to join him for dinner. Another, cares for those facing extreme poverty. The theme is the ability of one individual to connect with another for the positive.

Photo of DeletedUser
4 2

Written by DeletedUser

http://www.npr.org/2008/03/28/89164759/a-victim-treats-his-mugger-right?ps=cprs

The beautiful notion in these stories is empathy and compassion. Julio was able to connect with his mugger by showing his kindness, and allow him to see an alternative path for life. Narayanan saw that humanity was missing in the treatment of others, and went about helping them in the most basic of ways. Treating people with dignity, helping those in need see a way to a better life. It's enabling communication between two parties of people that are not supposed to connect, and promoting well being in society. What I'm thinking about is how can we collectively think about what happened here, and be able to make it not just one amazing moment, but a way for people to connect with kindness. 

As Julio stated in the article:
"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."
-Julio Diaz

4 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

I love stories like these; they really bring out the absolute beauty of humanity.

Have you heard of the Amy Biehl Foundation in South Africa (http://www.amybiehl.org/index.php)? Basically, Amy Biehl was a young, Caucasian American Fulbright scholar working in South Africa to end apartheid. In 1993, she was stoned and stabbed to death by racially motivated mob. Four of her murderers were convicted, but they were all pardoned in 1998.

"The logic would be that the South Africans should be giving some kind of reparation to the Biehls," said Archbishop Desmond Tutu. "They've turned it all upside down....It is the victims, in the depth of their own agony and pain, who say, 'The community - which produced these murderers - we want to help that community be transfigured.'"

For many, forgiveness and love is a life-changing act. There are so many heartwarming stories like these, and I too would love to find a way to connect people with shared kindness and happiness.

The book series "Chicken Soup for the Soul" and the movie "Pay It Forward" did a great job of bringing this concept into the media for awhile. I think we should find a way to formally support filmmakers, producers, editors, writers, and executives to promote this concept within their organizations.

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

(Sorry! The quotes came from this news article: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/02/28/60II/main165933.shtml.)

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Hey Arjun, nice idea behind this post! I believe we have to start people young. Have you heard of the Roots of Empathy (ROE) program? http://www.rootsofempathy.org/ The program follows the idea that learning empathy as a skill from a very young age can significantly reduce the probability of bullying, marginalization and aggression in children later on. ROE calls it "Social and emotional learning." And importance on those "soft" skills that build one's emotional quotient (or EQ, rather than IQ) is a big theme in re-imagining 21st century learning models.

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Thanks Lisa, I had not heard of that program, but it looks interesting. I think its great that they are reaching out to young children, it makes sense to help them make that pattern of kindness at an early age. That said, I still believe the adage that an old dog can learn new tricks. One example; prisoners learning to reconnect with the world through knitting:
http://www.good.is/post/prisoners-transform-through-knitting-behind-bars/