Article By Shruti M – Presales Consultant, Team AVTAR
Children should be taught inclusion at a young age and why diversity has to be accepted. Lessons on friendship, kindness, acceptance, adjustment should be instilled in them early on so that they can learn to build positive relationships. Children experience diversity in different forms in their daily life which will teach them to get along with everyone – making their world a happy and friendly place. The message of friendship and understanding is essential for relationships to flourish in a congenial environment.
A lotus pond was flowering in all its glory in summer. Sun’s glorious rays lit up the pond slowly revealing its inhabitants beneath the green leafy carpet which was floating on the surface of the pond. Ms. Amicable, the lotus stood strong and beautiful bringing its ecosystem together – fishes, tadpoles, leaves. All was fine till one day Mr. Whiskers started fighting Ms. Agile for territory. The fish was used to swimming in a certain part of the pond and coming up now and then for oxygen. A dense group of shiny black tadpoles had suddenly emerged taking up space in the pond. The tadpole would swim throughout the pond invading the fish’s territory now and then. It was a prohibited part of the pond where none dared to go. Mr. Whiskers was very possessive about his space. But Ms. Agile was young, curious and wanted to explore a whole new world which seemed welcoming to her. In spite of warnings from her mother she went ahead to the forbidden zone with her tribe. This angered Mr. Whiskers to mighty heights. Mr. Whiskers tried to scare Ms. Agile but she was not frightened so easily. Another group of fishes in the other end of the pond kept a watch over the pond. They protected the tadpoles from Mr. Whiskers clutches. The tadpoles fought amongst themselves and kept one tadpole aloof because of her inability to swim properly. She had a deformity which stopped her from swimming efficiently with ease. Plus, her color was different which made them jealous. They stopped socializing with her because unconscious bias had inhabited their minds planting the seeds of discrimination. Ms. Lonely confided in the lotus and told her she was unhappy. Her ecosystem was not supportive. She was bullied and felt bad. At night when all were in deep slumber, the leaves told the lotus all was not good in her kingdom.
The lotus was tired of seeing its precious ecosystem in turmoil. Its inhabitants were building multiple walls of bias which stopped them from initiating positive bonds. Inspite of diversity she couldn’t bring about inclusivity. One day she gently asked Mr. Whiskers what annoyed him so much. He said he was used to his space and didn’t like others questioning him and invading his territory. He had gotten used to his own company. She asked the tadpoles why they didn’t accept Ms. Lonely into their circle. Their answer hurt her deeply.
Ms. Amicable decided to host a pond party to break these invisible mental barriers. The pond hadn’t seen much excitement in years and this was the perfect opportunity to revive its dormant culture. Ms. Amicable slowly unfolded her petals in full bloom and welcomed all to the party. The lotus hired a jazz band for the party – a bunch of chirpy crickets who set the mood for the day. Ms. Moppins was roped in as the chef. All the inhabitants were very excited except Mr. whiskers. He was terrified of meeting others. Socializing wasn’t his cup of tea. He finally picked up some courage and went to the party. The group of tadpoles gathered around him and made him feel welcome. Ms. Lonely hung out with Ms. Moppins and helped her in serving food to all. Ms. Amicable addressed the gathering and told them that accepting each other’s imperfections and drawbacks is essential to connect with one another and live a harmonious life. All listened attentively and decided to bring about a behavioural change in their interactions with one another.
In the next few days things were much better and the pond inhabitants came together in a whole new way creating new waves of compassion and friendship. The group of tadpoles included Ms. Lonely in all their adventures. Mr. Whiskers hosted storytelling sessions for all the young ones every afternoon. Slowly a cooperative and harmonious environment formed. A gentle breeze swayed across the pond and all was good.