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Sense and Sensitivity

“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing,” says Blaise Pascal, one of the renowned philosophers of the seventeenth century. People often claim themselves to be ‘of the heart’ or ‘of reason’.

Once, one of the officials of a Child Care Institution, at the time of admission of a child in need of care and protection seemed to have questioned the staff, “Why do you bring these kinds of difficult children to the shelter home?” At another instance, while involved in rescuing a girl, a victim of child marriage, it was noticed that some of the social workers were busy clicking away selfies with the victim. They justified their action saying they needed documentary evidence for their intervention!

‘Sense’ is defined by Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary as ‘An ability to understand something’. On the other hand, ‘Sensitivity’ is defined as ‘the ability to understand other people’s feelings.’

Condescension and judgementalism are common attitudinal errors that could creep into people in any helping profession such as social work, teaching, healthcare, etc. Due to the routine nature of the work, one might feel that the one reaching out to help is on a higher pedestal than the one being helped. While serving the society, especially the less privileged and those in need of help, may each of us strive to develop a balanced blend of heart and reason, sense and sensitivity, that each of our interventions may be efficient and efficacious.

Fr. Prasad sdb



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