Family Fabric: Sensibility & Sensitivity

June 3, 2021

During this gloomy environment when the world is at a standstill, when multiple deaths of young and old happen in a single day, my thoughts revolve round this serious question - Is the family fabric crumbling down? When members of the family are confined to four walls of the house, getting on each other’s nerves, can the storms be faced with love, understanding and compassion? “A family, a home is a place where creativity flows and communication is ongoing”, words of Stormie Omartian. Can we imagine a home with the flow of creativity and communication today? If yes, we are really fortunate with high rate of positivity.

Two words which hold a world of meaning are ‘Sensitivity’ and ‘Sensibility’. What is the relevance of these concepts in strengthening the family fabric in our turbulent society?

Sensibility is the product of the brain, sensitivity the flow of the heart. Only when there is fruitful fusion of these two, members of the family can send messages of love, compassion, understanding and reason.

There was an age, a time when our families valued everything permanent - relationships, connections, traditions and cultural changes. Free flow of love and affection, respect for elders, humanism prevailed, with young and old residing in undivided families, money catering to limited needs. Today it is nuclear families with huge weightage to wealth, materialism, selfishness, personal gain being the order of the day. Reason and sensibility are pushing people to attain great heights and loads of money, of course sensitivity, empathy and heartbeats taking a back seat. So, the big question - “Where are we heading to?” Are we, the elders, parents and teachers who received a strong foundation of morals, seen better days, in a position to give stability, human values to our children, our youth?

When I pen down the words sensibility, sensitivity and culture, the role model who comes before my mind’s eye is a great Human, Late Dr. Abdul Kalam. Very concerned about the future of youth and children, without mincing words he reminded parents and teachers about their mission of love. “The three key societal members who can make a difference are father, mother and teacher”. These are the words of Dr Kalam. Once when a little girl questioned him about the solution to corruption and other vices in India, he gently reminded her that the solution lies within the four walls of a home. How meaningful these words are, which should prick the conscience of each and every parent, teacher, leader, social worker and a politician.

We have before us great personalities who clearly proved that humanity is above rationality, humanity exceeding all boundaries and that wealth or financial power could never compare to their noble deeds towards the downtrodden. A feeble tiny lady, the Mother of Calcutta, St Mother Theresa brought about a revolution of love. A lady sitting on millions worth of assets, Sudha Moorthy proves to the world that her life is the message of love and charity. In a dusty village of Harekala, 20 kms away from Mangaluru, Karnataka lives a saint Harekala Hajabba who sold oranges and built a school for poor children in his village. Never having stepped into the classroom himself, he is known as ‘Akshara Santha’ or ‘Saint of letters’.

Having mentioned about the charitable deeds of generous Personalities, highly sensitive towards needs of the less fortunate in society, million dollar question before us, the so called educated is whether we have created a society of co-operation, affection and peace. Is Education and rationality a catalyst of change for the better? Recent headlines in the media about scarcity of oxygen, vaccination, the indignity meted out towards the dead should really make us bow our heads in shame. Can we assert that we live in a progressive, enlightened society where all and sundry can live in peace? What miracles do we witness with so many advancements in the world of medicine except for multiple deaths in a family? Is it worth to have multiple degrees, excelling in research and innovations if the heart is devoid of emotions, empathy and sensitivity?

Is it the right time for us to analyse, assess and conclude that the future is with our youth and children and that we parents and elders are catalysts of change? The change has to begin with our families. The family fabric which is too weak unless strengthened, future society will be rich in materialism, progress in technology breeding people devoid of kindness, generosity and empathy. Therefore a few points for us to contemplate.

? As a parent, teacher, how do my children, my students assess me? Do they see in me a person with only empty words, an individual after money, a slave of multiple vices? Actions speak louder than words. Do they find in us a person worth emulating?
? In our homes, our schools, do we create an environment conducive to study? Do we follow a timetable nurturing children to inculcate self-discipline and values? Do we reach out to them, with stories and effective communication? Our best investment is our youth and children priceless in comparison to wealth, money and assets.
? What is our approach to our adolescents and youth? Do we try to assure them that we are with them when hormonal changes worry them? Do we follow the principle of live and let live, allow them to make mistakes and learn rather than establish our authority?
? Above all, what is most essential is to make them realise that the journey from the brain to the heart is the hardest but most fulfilling. Degrees, awards do matter when simplicity, respect, kindness and empathy adorn them.

Let me conclude with these beautiful words of an anonymous writer:

One day we all will depart
On a journey free of cost
Don't worry about seat reservation, it is confirmed
The flight is always on time
Our good deeds will be our luggage
Humanity will be our passport
Love will be our visa
Make sure we do our best
To travel to heaven in business class




By Perdita Hilda D'Silva
Perdita Hilda D'Silva is a retired professor of Economics. She has served Milagres College Kallianpur for thirty-eight and half years as an Associate Professor, and Vice-Principal. She is a member of the Diocesan Family life Council of Udupi Diocese and a resource person.
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Comment on this article

  • Ashok Thonse, Kallianpur/Dubai

    Sat, Jun 05 2021

    Nicely written article Madam.

  • John, Mangalore

    Fri, Jun 04 2021

    Well said! Also A Biblical solution for family fabric betterment, Proverbs 21:1-2 say 1 The king's heart is like streams of water. Both are under the LORD's control. He turns them in any direction he chooses. 2 A person thinks everything he does is right, but the LORD weighs hearts. If God can control the King's heart definitely He can control common man's heart as well, specially wayward children and youth in the family. So repeated saying above Divine verse instead of being angry or rude to them over the time would definitely manifest positive changes in them. Also it is a Divine Grace. Same holds good for other addicted or misguided persons in the family as well. If one follows, first in family then in society automatic changes will come, as it is much better instead of disintegration in families, family values and brings much needed unity, peace, sensibility and positivity in the families and society.

  • Irene Sequeira, Derebail/US

    Fri, Jun 04 2021

    Well written article Madam at the right time. I have seen you reading books continuously and now started writing! Keep up the good work.

  • Renita, Kallianpur/London

    Thu, Jun 03 2021

    Absolutely beautiful and thought provoking. A brilliant, timely wonderful article from a woman who practises what she preaches and lives a life that is an example to us all. So proud of you, mumms.

  • Ben D'Souza Prabhu, Mangalore, Bombay Bandra now in Canada

    Thu, Jun 03 2021

    Well said, dear Perdita Hilda D'Silva. Surely one day we all will depart to our destination which is called as our Home in the Kingdom that our dear Lord has reserved for us all. There will be no Pain or Suffering. All that we gaze at the ' Light ' on the face of our Wonderful Creator Lord for ever eternity. There will be happiness and well being for everyone.No discrimination or lofty position. All will be very Simple Lively always ! Thanks for your chosen and beautiful words of Comfort. God Bless !!

  • FLAVIA ALMEIDA, Matpady/Sastan/U.S.A.

    Thu, Jun 03 2021

    Very nice article dear Madam. Very helpful.

  • John Monteiro, Bondel, Mangaluru

    Thu, Jun 03 2021

    A very timely and relevant bunch of questions. It is an invitation to think rather than feed us with ready-made answers. Very lucidly written. More power to your pen, Or is it computer key-board?

  • John Monteiro, Bondel, Mangaluru

    Thu, Jun 03 2021

    A very timely and relevant bunch of questions. It is an invitation to think rather than feed us with ready-made answers. Very lucidly written. More power to your pen, Or is it computer key-board?

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