By Claire Jones
”No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop
The importance of kindness was drilled into our psyches as we grew up. We heard about kindness in our churches, when we attended school and our parents reinforced it at home. Basically, we were taught the difference between right and wrong: we were taught the difference between good and evil in clear terms. Yet, in today’s world we often perceive behaviors that cause us to wonder why the discourse in our country has coarsened and spiraled out of control.
The other day I read a Huffington post blog titled, The 5 Beneficial Side Effects of Kindness. The article noted that we often think about the side effects of drugs easier than we think of the positive, side effects of kindness. Nevertheless, when we treat others with kindness we are “happier,” age at a slower rate, create better relationships and, as a result, our efforts can cause kindness to spread.
Recently, I was encouraged by the efforts of my young neighbor to affect change by running for a seat on our school board. A mother of two, she decided in order to see change in education, at the local level, she needed to step up. While in the midst of her campaigning, she relayed a story about her eight year old son who used a creative way to communicate the importance of kindness to his classmates. One day, he wore a tee shirt with the words BE KIND emblazoned across the front to school to express his feelings.
This action not only showed his innovative way of solving a problem, but it also spoke to the efforts of his parents. They are raising a child who is obviously, thoughtful and conscious. In a world where we often see negative actions elevated and constantly replayed to solicit views, it is a reminder that there are those who are still making efforts to uplift. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we wore those words splashed across our chests everyday as a constant reminder to treat others with loving kindness?
In the end, my neighbor did not win the race, but she made an impression in our district. She did quite well for someone who was new to the game. I remain encouraged and inspired by what she did and I’m sure many others feel the same. During these last few weeks of 2017, as we return to our families and visit with friends, let’s strive to ‘be kind’ with our words and through our actions. We may not wear tee shirts with BE KIND splashed across the front to express our deepest desires with regards to the state of affairs in our daily lives everyday… , but if we take frequent, small steps away from our hectic lives to say a kind word or do a kind act for others, innumerable benefits would definitely accrue in our lives.
Art by Claire Jones