It is hard to avoid the pressing concerns that swirl about our troubled world. Headlines scream of global warming....news stories explode with incidents of war, prejudice and massacre.
So often, we sit shaking our heads, mouth open, appalled at how we, as a people, have so gravely damaged ourselves and our world.
But what can we do...what can any of us do to make a difference in the face of ongoing devastation?.
A good start is to believe we have more individual power than we think.
I have noted that kindness has become under-rated. Of course, we hear many stories of people putting their own safety at risk to help a stranger. Such stories reaffirm our faith in human nature.
Unfortunately, there are also tales to highlight the disconnect that plagues modern society...too many incidents of people looking the other way because they don't want to get involved.
But imagine a world wherein each of us dug deep in ourselves for empathy and compassion...imagine if a Kindness Movement rose up from where it has been sleeping and we began to take care of one another, not just our own family, but reached out to offer a helping hand to anyone we saw in need.
I know I may be criticized for my Pollyanna optimism...I have been in the past. Perhaps it is simplistic to suggest a bit of kindness can change
the world, but where else can we all start, if not with ourselves?
Kindness multiplies when it is given freely and openly. It need not be much...even a small gesture can expand when passed on.
I have a dear friend at work who practices Random Acts of Kindness. She might mention casually that she'd paid for the coffee a man ahead of her in Starbucks had ordered. Her immediate reward is a happy grin from the surprised customer.
But can you picture, then, how that man will do something nice when a chance comes up for him to make a difference in someone else's day?
Imagine that multiplied many times over and you begin to see that change is possible. Get involved in your community. Give what you can...do all that you are able to on this busy planet and we all benefit.
Make each day a chance to improve your world in small ways. When you see tourists quizzically scanning a map, go over and help them find their way. Better yet, buy them a drink from the nearest street vendor, while expounding on the many beauties to be found in your part of the world.
Kindness will not always feel like kindness. I have found it difficult in the past to tell people I do not appreciate what they are saying, but I will no longer listen to racist jokes....it is not just a joke!
Pointing out that I'm an immigrant, too, and that I find the reference offensive always leads to sputtering and protestations: "Oh I didn't mean you...you're white and you speak English!"
These are words my egalitarian spirit cannot embrace. I only hope that a calm discussion may cause that person to think before he spews out more bigotry disguised as humour.
I am no-one's idea of a role model...nor am I besieged with kudos and awards, but I have learned in my time that we each have untold depths of compassion and goodness in us just waiting to be unleashed and embraced.
Of this, I am sure...
Please drop by ABC Wednesday to see more takes on the letter 'K".