Friday, April 25, 2014

The Man without a face

There is no opportunity that should be passed up to teach your children. Today at take your kids to work day both Baltej and Himmat accompanied me to my work.  During lunch I decided to take them to the mall of course it was packed in the eatery at lunch.  As I grabbed our food I started looking for a table to sit but could not see one.  I finally spotted a section where there were a few seats empty; it seemed a little odd because of the rush to have so many empty seats in one section.  As we got closer I noticed why, sitting in the middle of the table was a man with a disfigured face.  It seemed like he had been burned or in some sort of serious accident.  He was just sitting there alone both tables next to him were empty.

I quickly walked toward the table that was closest to him. I had Baltej take the seat right next to him and Himmat right next to Baltej.  I sat facing the man and said hello, he nodded his head.  Baltej kept staring at his face, I reminded him its rude to stare (the perks of knowing a second language!).  Soon the kids were buried in their food and I noticed the man looking over and smiling at their silly questions and conversation.  I also noticed Baltej glancing over and sneaking some peaks of the man.  He was done eating but just sat there and listened, at first I thought he was waiting for someone, but that was not the case.

He observed us and as I answered some of their funny questions I noticed him laughing.  Nobody else occupied the table on the other side of him, even though it was fully crowded during the lunch rush.  While I was looking down at my food Baltej tipped his milk over and it all spilled on Himmat’s shirt, pants and shoes.  I quickly got Himmat to stand up but he started crying very loudly saying its cold and Baltej did it on purpose.  I only had about 3 napkins and as I was wiping Himmat down the man next to us quickly grabbed some napkins and handed them to me.  I thanked him and he smiled, he told Himmat it was an accident so he would stop crying.  

The man could barely speak clearly.  After I calmed Himmat down and we started eating again he began to have a conversation with us.  He said he loved the fact that Baltej was eating with his hands and he did the same when he was his age.  He asked them what sports they like to play and what other foods they liked.  I noticed Baltej begin to open up to the man and the kids were also laughing at his questions.  After a small conversation the man finally got up and started to leave.  After he left I told the boys that everyone is the same on the inside, no matter how they look we should never judge them from the outside. It’s a simple lesson but one I felt really hit home because of that man.  He really didn’t have a face but inside he was just like them and then I told them look at the table next to him nobody was sitting there he was sitting all alone, and its our job to make sure nobody feels left out.  Baltej smartly remarked is that what a good Sikh is supposed to do?  I told him yes, more importantly that’s what a good human is supposed to do.

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