Last week I had the absolute honour of speaking at a Transition Towns group event and on the panel after the talk was Margo Mannix a clinical social worker. Margo believes her parenting has been successful because her children are kind. She didn’t talk about the careers they have, the money they earn, the studies they undertake or the Jones’ they keep up with – her pride was in the fact her children were kind.
In the same week Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi gave her long overdue acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace prize…and kindness was the focus:
“Of the sweets of adversity, and let me say that they are not numerous, I have found the sweetest, the most precious of all, is the lesson I learnt on the value of kindness. Every kindness I received, small or big, convinced me that there could never be enough of it in our world. To be kind is to respond with sensitivity and human warmth to the hopes and needs of others. Even the briefest touch of kindness can lighten a heavy heart. Kindness can change the lives of people.”
Kindness can also change the lives of animals, as well as people we don’t know and may never know.
When we act with kindness, we stop exploiting and start caring. We give of ourselves rather than take for ourselves. We soften our voice and cooperate rather than gossip and dominate. Instead of causing rifts, we uplift.
In the last few days I’ve been lifted by the kindness of others, kindness that has come totally out of the blue. There was the friend with little time to spare, who found some to help me out. There were the strangers whose compassion was so genuine it was like a lightening strike (Guests…that was you!). There was a nurse who brightened my father’s predicament. There was a group of women who extended the hand of friendship. There was a person who held the door and smiled…
Kindness is catching.
So…what can we do today that will make the life of our family and the vibe of the whole world a little kinder?