Oct. 2, 2009: Everyday actions demonstrate the value of kindness, by Barbara Henry
The dictionary defines kindness as a noun; the quality of being warmhearted, considerate, humane and sympathetic; the trait of being willing to give your money or time and considerate regard for others; a considerate and thoughtful act.
The dictionary tells us what kindness is but it doesn’t say how to be kind or even why we might want to do so.
We need another, bigger book for that.
The phrase “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” is attributed to peace activist and author Anne Herbert in 1982. A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person wishing to either assist or cheer up another. The reason was to make people smile, or be happier.
More than random acts, kindness should be practiced intentionally, as a way to live your life.
Through the ages we have been asked to live in a kind way.
• Jesus Christ told us to “Love each other as we love ourselves.”
• Buddha encouraged the practice of loving-kindness meditation.
• One of my dad’s favorites was the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, treat other people the way that you want to be treated.
• More recently, pop culture has suggested that we ask ourselves, “What Would Jesus Do?”
Kindness does not have to be grandiose and begging for recognition, although the generous donations of time or money to a good cause are always welcomed and appreciated.
Just as important is the everyday kindness that you practice when you hold the door open for someone, smile, let someone go ahead of you in line, share something positive or are promptly on time; all these show respect for others.
To listen and be really present when someone is talking to you is another way of having respect for people. Kindness is treating others with respect and courtesy.
A positive, friendly attitude can lead to others being kind. It simply multiplies itself. If someone is kind to you, you feel good and are kind to someone else, and so on it goes. You create a ripple effect of kindness. By consciously practicing being kind, we develop into a practice of promoting people.
Practice kindness. Promote peace.
— Barbara Henry is a case manager at OCCK Inc. and is married to Sam Henry. She is a member of the Concordia Year of Peace Committee.