Today is not only Wednesday but “World Kindness Day.” All we need to do is watch the news or even just take a good look around us on almost any day to see that the concept of kindness is lacking in the world.
Drive a car? Be prepared to be subjected to road rage, tailgating, forced off the road or out of your lane, dirty looks and even dirtier gestures. Listen to random conversations around you? There are four-letter words that have become so common in everyday language that we are no longer shocked even at the age of those speaking them. Watch the news? See how many people needlessly lose their lives over arguments, fights, drugs, brutality – things that should have much lesser value than a human life suddenly became bigger than human life.
But then – look further. At the elementary school where I am a volunteer mentor, I see a second grader stop and hold the door for her friends with a smile. At Girls, Inc. where I also volunteer, I see a young first grader hug a friend who is having a bad day or another young girl offer to help her classmate who is having difficulty reading. While loading groceries, I see another woman stop loading her own groceries to go back and help an elderly woman push her grocery cart to her vehicle and then assist her in unloading those groceries. I see a man actually smile and acknowledge a homeless person rather than pretend not to see him.
In order to receive kindness, you have to practice kindness. Our children learn from our examples but there is a lot they can teach us as well. Be the example you want your children to follow. In the words of James Baldwin:
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders. But they have never failed to imitate them.”