Wednesday, September 26, 2012

K is for Kindness

It is hard to avoid  the pressing concerns that swirl about our troubled world. Headlines scream of global 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 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 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'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".


Roger Owen Green said...

I think kindness (random acts and otherwise) is an obvious good. But too many see it as weakness when it is strength.

photowannabe said...

This is a profound post and I am so glad I stopped by.
I agree with you 1000%.
Sometimes a Random Act of Kindness is just a smile and a "have a good day" to the checker at the grocery store, or actually thanking someone for opening the door for you.
Its amazing to me how little thank you's there are around nowadays.
I totally agree with Roger Green's comment too. It's strength not weakness.

Katy Cameron said...

It was something I really struggled with when I lived in South Africa, to see so much discrimination and unkindnesses, even from people who professed to care and wanted to help, and was probably one of the reasons why I didn't stay on to work there, I just couldn't have dealt with it on a daily basis. I just hope that what I was able to do when I was there has been able to carry on and expand.

PS, love that 'road sign', I should be back with it again in March ;o)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Good post!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Lovely, lovely, and words and wisdom.........a feast in here this morning! Thank you.

photowannabe said...

I came back to your K post again and looked to see the pictures of your dog on the side bar.
I believe the kitsch dog looks just like yours (different color) It definitely would fit in your place but it is very tall. Almost 5 feet to the tip of the head. It didn't have a price tag on it so I have no idea how expensive it is...probably more than I could afford...

foszae said...

you're my idea of a role model. i may not have grown to be the best person around, but i learned to care and be kind and believe in the better choices, and all because you have always been the one who believed in kindness and decency.

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

So many parts of this post had my heart yelling yes, yes yes.

Beautifully said, and well worth remembering.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A beautiful post Lynette -- you really made the most of the "K" prompt! Thanks for sharing your musings -- lots to think about here and I appreciate it.

Romeo said...

We love this post! LOVE! Yes, yes and yes - kindness!!!! Favorite quote here....always be a little kinder than necessary. Did I mention we LOVE this post on kindness?

Purrs and hugs,

Romeo and "her"

EG CameraGirl said...

Beautiful well-written and thought=out post! Random acts of kindness do as much or more for the giver as for the one who receives.