Where has the virtue of kindness, behaviour marked by a pleasant disposition, concern and consideration for others almost disappeared to?!
What is it about our societal structure that the basic framework of ethical characteristics seems to have been eroded and the basic milk of human kindness is sorely lacking?
I saw an elderly woman shuffle across a busy road and halt fearfully in the middle of the road as a youngster was forced to pause his vehicle, impatiently, as he waited for the woman to cross. Her hurried movements became even more hurried but how much faster could she have gone? Probably in her late seventies and clutching bags too. She barely reached the pavement when he sped off.
Much of a muchness, one would say, I am making of this. What if in her panic, she tripped? Think on it though, we are old going to get older, we will all come full circle in life.
Some of the younger generation, who have adopted a halo of “entitlement” seem to be beset with learning deficits, mostly brought on by their family and surrounding environment where the foundations are faltering. Whilst infinitely smarter with their commendable techno savvy skills, some lack basic moral gaps that will pose challenging later on. It is imperative that the benefits of kindness, charity and compassion are inculcated now. Perhaps fashioned by the modern world and the significant safety factors, certainly insular than we were, the younger set needs to adopt/assist with activities that were once intrinsic in the make-up of previous lifestyles. Where washing the family car or mowing the lawn was once necessary, compulsory chores, the modern method of outsourcing and paying has become common. We are all in some manner guilty of self-involvement. Children learn what they live. Kindness needs to be learned to promote understanding, appreciation and reproduction. Altruism is contagious and primary and secondary institutions are much easier to navigate as greater peer acceptance is achieved through good deeds which results in greater popularity.
Some acts of kindness :
- Become a Big Brother, take someone younger under your wing. It helps against bullying in schools.
- Create packs of combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap at a shelter or a soup kitchen.
- Donate your unwanted items to a deserving organization.
- Visit the local retirement home, pop in a DVD for the members and maybe take cupcakes with?
- Finished watching your DVD? Donate it to an old age home.
- Carry someone’s groceries.
- Offer to read to the infirmed and elderly.
- Offer refreshments to the civil servants, especially during the heat.
- Become an organ donor, tell your family.
- Treat an elderly neighbour to a manicure or a pedicure. Arthritis is unkind to the body.
- Volunteer at the local animal shelter. Your act of kindness may be the only thing that animal sees before it is most often, put to sleep. (Yes, I know, these words are harsh, but so is reality).
- Offer to knit/crochet items and donate to charitable associates
- Donate fruits/sandwiches to economically challenged primary schools. Many children are sent to school without lunch or snacks.
- Adopt a spot, round up some friends, plant a fruit tree. It will serve the environment and birds well.
- Adopt gardening spaces at a school, cultivate a herb garden. Seek volunteers to manage that. Start anew at another school.
Acts of kindness should not be intrusive or embarrassing. Sometimes the slightest touch of a hand and a smiling nod after the act would be the balm that would make some one’s day. The thing is to treat others, as we would expect to be treated.
I remember standing in a popular supermarket and espied an old lady peering at face cream. It must have been a luxury now obviously long forgotten. Her gnarled dry hands cupped the ointment and regrettably, she put in back on the shelf. I dug into my pocket, found the suitable amount and handed it to her. I remember walking away tearfully. On a government grant, such necessities are eschewed in favour of rent and electricity. It is a very fine line between “having” and “not having”. Who knows what Karma or Life has in store for me. I know I would want my face cream.
On a negative note, I once saw a youngster, with a speech impairment clutch at a supper meal, obviously asking for a donation towards it. Looking at my overflowing trolley for my kids, I gave her the sum. As luck would have it, I saw her, leave the meal on a shelf and speedily exit the store. Immediately, I left my husband in charge of my groceries and made tracks for her. Found her at the corner, enjoying a puff on a cigarette, I had obviously paid for. I called her out on it. She vocally pretended that she did not know me and I was so enraged at being fooled (by then a crowd had gathered), I retreated tearfully. A local advised that she is a regular con artist. I was emotionally devastated. A lesson well learned, I am much wiser and judicious but that has not deterred me from giving off myself.
Kindness starts at home and with yourself. Berate yourself often? Super critical of yourself? Start with yourself, practice self love and self kindness. That thread is linked to how we treat others.
Simple acts of kindness has many benefits and side effects. It releases oxytocin, the “feel good” hormones that lowers blood pressure. Acts emanating from a generosity of spirit, it is a deep response that transmits from hearts to heart. To feel it, one does not have to know the person. Random acts of kindness to random strangers sends out messages of empathy, warmth and compassion. In this frenzied world of busyness, an injection of humanity would be welcome. That actually has a knock on effect and people are often inspired to reciprocate that, much like a smile.
Kindness matters. Despite our different journeys, we are all one. Fraught with daily battles, some worse than others, what we may take for granted, may be prayed for by someone else. Reaching out, a helping hand is a triumph to human nature. It symbolises hope.Good words, good deeds results in an increased fellowship and a kinder world.
Kindness IS literally good for the heart and soul.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.-Dalai Lama
Images courtesy of the web.