#1 had to do an assignment on social causes. They had to choose 1 social cause which they feel strongly about and to give a speech on it. When I read it, I was flabbergasted.
Her choice of topic: INSINCERITY
I’d like to address you as the insincere future of humanity which I unfortunately belong to.
I have always treasured sincerity but the fact that it is a rarity among many, even amidst those close to me, has sent me into resignation. Let me relate a recent incident that happened in the security and comfort of my own home – a place where we should all feel safe.
I know I have introduced myself as the girl who hates band. However, when I was tasked with a possible solo piece, I suddenly felt important. Needed. Brave even. With my joyous news, I went home and shared it with my second sister, in the hope of receiving a genuine expression of happiness for me and perhaps admiration (if I was lucky). I shared the piece which was a recording of the segment that I was responsible for. What I received in return was unexpected. She grinned and in her most insincere, superficial and pretentious manner said, “Oh ya, cool! Very nice!” I was not prepared for the feelings of the aftermath. I expected a certain degree of sincerity from someone whom I seek advice from and the fact that she is my sister makes it that much worse.
This brings me to the topic of sincerity, or lack thereof. When did people stop appreciating sincerity? When did people stop practicing sincerity? And when did insincerity become unimportant?
One masterpiece of insincerity is known to be the ‘power hug’. Have you ever been hugged by someone with an ulterior motive? Someone who hugged you for the selfish reason of winning you over? It basically tears down your walls, leaving you defenceless. If you look at the position of the person receiving the hug, the body language of arms outstretched signifies acceptance and openness; it is symbolic of a person’s vulnerability. She seeks comfort in the hugger who then takes advantage of that unarmed emotional state and easily convinces you to do their bidding.
Now, think about it. How often do you give sincere hugs? Think about the last hug you recently gave to someone. Did it mean anything? Was it to comfort that person? Was it a means of strengthening your friendship or was it out of pure insincerity?
Insincerity is now so rampant that people might not even be concerned about the fact that sincerity is so rare in society at this point in time. I am concerned over the triviality of sincerity, and it’s unimportance in society is somewhat alarming. These insincere gestures, fulfilled by many, might contribute to the reason why families grow apart. An insincere comment from a mother to her daughter can hurt deeply. And if such comments are received all the time, it might very well be all it takes to make the child stop confiding in her mother. I want you to be completely honest and think about the last time you hugged your mother and meant it.
Sincerity should help you sleep better at night. You know that the hug you gave earlier that day was completely out of sincerity and that you only meant to provide care, concern and comfort. Giving your unconditional love while expecting nothing in return is possibly one of the most relieving feelings you can experience.
Today, I appeal to you not to give out that one insincere hug, refrain from saying that one insincere comment, and learn to incorporate sincerity into your thoughts, words and deeds.
All these might seem slightly idealistic but it is completely true that a little sincerity goes a long way. No man is an island and to receive, you must first give. As Confucius once said, “To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of the soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness. Thus, I pray that sincerity, appreciating sincerity, and practicing sincerity will not be cast aside.
|S I N C E R I T Y
Wow. So many thoughts were floating through my mind while reading it. The idealism and passion of youths. The sensitivity and maturity of my eldest child. Has she really grown up? But the most nagging thought I had was “had I been insincere to my kids”? And the answer, sadly, is yes. There were definitely times when I was busy or had too many things to think about that when they were relating some long drawn out story about something that happened, and when they asked me a question at the end of it, with their expectant faces, I just answered them with a ” Ya!” although I hadn’t got a clue what they had just said as I was deep in my own thoughts. Or I would answer them with a distracted “Uh-huh”. How that must have deflated their ego and enthusiasm. Or sometimes if they asked me if something was nice, I just gave them an offhanded “Nice!”
So I have decided that from this very moment, if I am not 100% present to them, I shall quickly stop them, ask them to give me a minute, finish whatever I’m doing or clear my mind of my own thoughts, then return to them fully present to listen to what they have to say, and to reply with sincerity.
After reading her impassioned speech, I am equally proud yet humbled at the same time. Ah, I still have so much to learn from my children.
Other life lessons (which I’ve learnt the hard way):
~ www.mummyweeblog – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~