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Posts Tagged ‘#bekind’

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As I walk through the high school I work in I pass dozens (hundreds) of faces each day. When I am cognizant, when I am not so wrapped up in my own thoughts, I see the faces more clearly.

I see the big smiles, the laughter, I see the eyes that resist making contact, the faces that are hidden by their downward stare, the eyes that look right through me …

and I wonder, what is their story? what are they dealing with?

During these times when I am alert to those who pass by in the hallways, I am reminded of how significant the insignificant can be, for those who might have a story that is hard, heavy.

To step aside, so they can pass, to hold a door, to smile, to say good morning, to pick up the pencil that fell from their laden arms …

these are the wordless ways we can whisper to another,

you matter

someone cares

someone notices

someone has empathy for you

In Romans 12:15, Paul reminds of a profound teaching, that we are all expected to practise:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” 

We are to not just co-exist with one another, but we are to share life together. We are not just to share life together, but we are to experience, to feel the joys and struggles of each other.

empathy

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In our society, kindness is getting good airplay. From Ellen Degeneres’ show benediction of “be kind to one another”, to The Kindness Project, to the hit movie, Wonder, to the #beccatoldmeto campaign, the work of Orly Wahba’s life vest inside movement,  or the resurgence of performing random acts of kindness, to volumes of books and a web full of videos, kindness is in.

What is kindness and what is the opposite of kindness?

Those were the two questions I asked on my FaceBook account, a few weeks ago.

Over fifty-five people responded, mostly females, varying in ages from four to … retired (I wouldn’t want to be unkind in my estimates). Those who responded live in North America, mostly in Canada.

The other day, I posted the results of the question,

why be kind?

The responses were great to read, and I loved that, in a few cases, a conversation between two or more strangers would break out (I guess you could say kindness broke out). Some said that to show kindness was innate, others firmly felt that to be kind was a conscious choice.

Many shared that it was anything but altruistic, as it “feeds their soul”, “makes one feel better about oneself”, “elicits kindness in return”.

A great many people referred directly or indirectly to the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) of:

“do to others what you would want them to do for you” 

Some said that we should be kind because it is how we want to be treated, some saying that if we are kind to others, kindness would come back us.

Others felt that to be kind is the right thing to do and it could change the world.

Still others responded that, as Christians, kindness has been offered and modelled by Christ, therefore it is expected of us.

A few mentioned the difficulty of knowing how to give and receive kindness, the struggle of giving from a place of brokenness, emptiness. Whereas another said, “kill them with kindness, it can defuse tension and transform relationships”

There were great quotes (mostly by Mother Teresa) and, from a ten year old, “well, if we weren’t kind, everyone would punch each other and hate each other and the world would go downhill.” Amen!

One person sent me a link to an article on five researched-based reasons to be kind, including:

  • it is inbuilt (there can be innate tendencies)
  • it can have positive effects on the brain (drug-free mood-enhancing effects)
  • can help you live longer (but only the one performing the act of kindness, not the one receiving it’s benefits)
  • is contagious (if you are kind, and they are kind …)
  • it can make you happier (for up to a month after committing the kindness)

As I read and reflected on the results of the question, why be kind?, I found myself reflecting on one particular response …

“why not be kind?”

Our lives are complex, demanding and sometimes downright difficult. There are so many different directions that we are pulled, so much expectation on us each day. Then there is the news … that daily onslaught of what is wrong in our world.

If each of us were to make the effort each day to show kindness to another, truly it would be doing for others as we would like to be done to ourselves. Truly it could improve the day for another sojourner on this planet … and it would probably improve our own day as well.

“why not be kind?”

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