“Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary.” ~ James Matthew Barrie, The Little White Bird …
Kindness is always appropriate… in all situations in life. As a boy, I was taught many different forms of it: in baseball, my coaches taught how kindness through sportsmanship shows far more of our character and humanity than any other expression in sports. And in school, my teachers taught the importance of manners–saying please and thank you and holding doors for others. Even in the hunter education classes I took, I was taught to practice kindness by attempting to kill the game in the most humane way possible. If there were one human quality that could truly transform this world in which we live into a much more positive place, kindness would be it. After all, we are the stewards of this Earth, and love in action usually manifests itself as kindness.
Unfortunately, many individuals seem to want to ration the kindness they give out, or to only offer it to those that they feel deserve it. But kind acts are an extremely important part of all of our lives–everyone deserves them and there can never be an over-abundance of them. Even when others ask a favor of me and it seems like they might be using me, if I really do not know their motivations, I have the opportunity to choose to put more kindness out into the world. And even though I may not receive any monetary compensation, as from a normal job, someone might really need the help that I can offer. As a steward of this Earth, I feel a personal responsibility to offer my help and kindness to those here with me in life. After all, I have the capacity to be kind… so why not be? It may be something simple to me, yet mean the world to someone else who needs to see, hear, or feel that another human cares.
Imagine what life would be like if we could live by this rule? How differently we might speak with one another, and how the responses we received back might change. The ways in which others would treat the next person they met would change after having been the recipient of our kindness. How the manner in which we see and feel about ourselves and about life might change. Kindness is perhaps the strongest method of influencing the soul; and it is certainly something that tends to be passed on, regardless of whether we ever see those ripples in the pond.
There are countless moments throughout the day, in which we can become a conduit of kindness in this world. And it does not have to be something complex or on the large scale–it can be simple and modest–for kindness is never wasted. It always makes a difference, whether we see it or not. Sometimes it takes time, just as it may require thousands of drops of water to wear away at a stone, a person may need to experience kindness over and over again before they finally let it in. So even though we may not witness all of the results of our kindness, it is still an important and powerful force that we contribute to the world, either by adding to it, or by passing it on once we have received it.
Perform an act of kindness for three individuals throughout the day.
Questions to consider:
Why do so many people consider kindness to be a sign of weakness?
What do you think the world would be like if all people were to focus on being kind to each other instead of being afraid of each other?
In what ways can you show kindness today to the people with whom you interact?
For further thought:
“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.” ~ Dale Carnegie