Good or benevolent nature, considerate, helpful, humane, gentle, loving.— Kindness, 18
the state or quality of being kind: kindness to animals.
a kind act; favor: his many kindnesses to me.
kind behavior: I will never forget your kindness.
Kindness is the act or the state of being kind —ie. marked by goodness and charitable behavior, mild disposition, pleasantness, tenderness and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.
In philosophy according to book two of Aristotle’s “Rhetoric” it is one of the emotions, which is defined as being “helpfulness towards some one in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped”. Kindness is considered to be one of the Knightly Virtues.
In religion it is considered to be one of the seven virtues, specifically the one of the Seven Contrary Virtues (direct opposites of the seven deadly sins) that is the direct opposite to envy. The Talmud claims that “deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments.” Paul of Tarsus defines love as being “patient and kind…” (I Corinthians). In Buddhism, one of the Ten Perfections (Paramitas) is Mettā, which is usually translated into English as “loving-kindness”. Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama wrote “my religion is kindness” and authored a book entitled “Kindness, Clarity, and Insight”. Confucius urges his followers to “recompense kindness with kindness.”
Prevent Peer Cruelty and Promote Kindness at School
Schools have no higher moral obligation to students and their parents than to do everything in their power to prevent peer cruelty and create a culture of kindness.
“The school’s most powerful moral influence,” observes psychologist and character educator Marvin Berkowitz, “is the way people treat each other.” In many schools, most of the adults are making a conscientious effort to treat students with love and respect. But in those same schools, even schools that are ostensibly committed to character education, kids are often devastatingly cruel to each other.
When peer cruelty goes unchecked, it’s a very serious problem for many reasons. The school is sending the message that the law of the jungle rules. This threatening atmosphere interferes with learning; students won’t be focused on schoolwork if they’re worried about getting cut down in their classroom, harassed in the hallway, ostracized at recess, or bullied on the bus. Cruelty at the hands of their schoolmates deprives them of what every child needs: the experience of being accepted and valued by peers. Peer rejection, one study found, is more likely to cause a child to leave school than academic difficulties.
Students who persecute peers are not only hurting others; they are also deforming their own character. By age 24, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, 60% of students who bully will have a criminal conviction.
For students who are regularly subjected to abuse by peers, school is a miserable experience. After graduating from his suburban high school, a boy wrote the following letter to his principal:
Before I came to this school, I went to a school where I was liked and into sports. I thought that joining the soccer team when I came here in 8th grade would be a good way to make friends. Instead, for reasons I never understood, four kids on the team decided to pick on me. They started by calling me names and one day after practice pushed me into the swamp behind the school. When I tried to get out, they kept pushing me back. This went on until I teared up, and then they called me “crybaby.” When I finally got out, I told the coach — which was a big mistake because he made them run laps, and then they really had a reason not to like me.
One day outside of school, as I was talking to two girls I liked, these guys came up behind me and pulled my pants down. As they walked away, they said, “You can’t do anything about it.” They kept this up all through high school. I was constantly afraid of being humiliated. These kids were ruining my life. I thought about what I’d like to do to them, but I didn’t have the courage to carry it out.
Schools have no higher moral obligation to students and their parents than to do everything in their power to prevent peer cruelty and create a culture of kindness and respect. There is no more important measure of the effectiveness of a character education program than its progress toward this goal.
Some students who are subjected to this kind of tormenting do carry out their desire for revenge. A 2000 study of school shootings by the U.S. Secret Service found that two-thirds of the shooters had felt persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked, or injured by others.
Other victims of peer cruelty become at risk for suicide. A mother says:
My nice, pretty 7th grader has no friends. She eats alone in the cafeteria, she walks alone in the halls. She says it is like she is a ghost. She does not know what she has done wrong. Needless to say, she’s depressed and said last night that she would like to kill herself. My husband and I are at a loss as to what to do.
One 8th grade girl who did kill herself left this note to her parents: “All my life I have been teased. I love you very much, but I just couldn’t stand it anymore.”
Peer cruelty, of course, has always been with us, but research shows it’s on the rise. In recent years, anti-bullying programs have proliferated — a reflection of the problem.
Much more pervasive than classical bullying (a stronger child picking on a weaker victim) are the everyday emotional cruelties — teasing, taunts, gossiping, rumor-spreading, and exclusion. In a nationwide survey of nearly 70,000 students in grades 6-12, only 37% said “students in my school show respect for one another.” The problem facing a great many schools is now a general peer culture where disrespect and meanness have become the norm.
Schools have no higher moral obligation to students and their parents than to do everything in their power to prevent peer cruelty and create a culture of kindness. There is no more important measure of the effectiveness of a character education program than its progress toward this goal.
The Lion and the Mouse
A small mouse crept up to a sleeping lion. The mouse admired the lion’s ears, his long whiskers and his great mane.
“Since he’s sleeping,” thought the mouse, “he’ll never suspect I’m here!”
With that, the little mouse climbed up onto the lion’s tail, ran across its back, slid down its leg and jumped off of its paw. The lion awoke and quickly caught the mouse between its claws.
“Please,” said the mouse, “let me go and I’ll come back and help you someday.”
The lion laughed, “You are so small! How could ever help me?”
The lion laughed so hard he had to hold his belly! The mouse jumped to freedom and ran until she was far, far away.
The next day, two hunters came to the jungle. They went to the lion’s lair. They set a huge rope snare. When the lion came home that night, he stepped into the trap.
He roared! He wept! But he couldn’t pull himself free.
The mouse heard the lion’s pitiful roar and came back to help him.
The mouse eyed the trap and noticed the one thick rope that held it together. She began nibbling and nibbling until the rope broke. The lion was able to shake off the other ropes that held him tight. He stood up free again!
The lion turned to the mouse and said, “Dear friend, I was foolish to ridicule you for being small. You helped me by saving my life after all!”
The moral of the story is that kindness brings its reward and that there is no being so small that it cannot help a greater.
The Words of Mother Teresa on Kindness
The common theme of Mother Teresa’s words reflect her work with the lonely, the sick, the dying and the destitute. Her unending love came through in her work and in her words. She was forever compassionate towards the loneliness felt by “wealthy” people, who on the surface had it all. She was also very concerned about the breakdown of families.
Here is a collection of her words on kindness which say it all:
- Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
- I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
- If we want a kindness message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.
- Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to continue to do small acts of kindness without getting tired.
- Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments and greater riches and so on, so that children have very little time for their parents, parents have very little time for each other, and in the home begins the disruption of peace of the world.
- It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.
- If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.
- Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.
- Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
- Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.
- Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.
- The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.
- The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
- The success of love is in the loving – it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.
- In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
Human Kindness Repaid (True Story)
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.
There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. ‘I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’
‘No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.
‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked. ‘Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.
‘I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’ And that he did.
Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill .. His son’s name?
Sir Winston Churchill.
Can’t think of anything to do to be kind today? Here are 93 random acts of kindness to try:
- Send someone a hand written note of thanks.
- Buy a lottery ticket and give it to a complete stranger.
- Put some coins in someone else’s parking meter.
- Buy a coffee for the man behind you in line.
- Cut your neighbor’s lawn.
- Walk your friend’s dog.
- Give a compliment about your waiter / waitress to his / her manager.
- Give someone a small gift anonymously and tell them how much you appreciate them.
- Stop and help someone stuck along the side of the road with their hood up or a flat tire.
- Let someone move ahead of you in line at the grocery store.
- Pay for the drinks on the next table at a restaurant.
- Take a friend out to eat for no reason at all.
- Give a huge tip to someone when they least expect it.
- Hold the door open for someone.
- Give up your seat for someone, not just an elderly person.
- Write notes of appreciation at least once a week.
- Buy some gift cards at McDonalds or Burger King and hand them out to homeless people.
- Pick up some rubbish in the road which would otherwise be lying around.
- Compliment a work colleague for their excellence..
- Give another driver your parking spot.
- Give a piece of fruit, candy bar, or bottle of cold water to the UPS or Fed Ex driver.
- Help an elderly neighbor carry the garbage out.
- Tell all your family members how much your appreciate them.
- Leave a copy of an interesting book in places where people will find them.
- Buy an inspirational book for a friend.
- Send a thank you note to a person who has helped you in the past.
- Smile a lot.
- Barbecue or bake something for a neighbor that you don’t talk to much.
- Buy some candy bars and hand them out to random people.
- Hug a friend and tell them that they are amazing.
- Deliver fresh-baked cookies to city workers.
- Collect goods for a food bank.
- Bring flowers to work and share them with coworkers.
- Garden clubs can make floral arrangements for senior centers, nursing homes, hospitals, police stations, or shut-ins.
- Adopt a student who needs a friend, checking in periodically to see how things are going.
- Volunteer to be a tutor in a school.
- Extend a hand to someone in need. Give your full attention and simply listen.
- Merchants can donate a percentage of receipts for the week to a special cause.
- Bring coworkers a special treat.
- Students can clean classrooms for the custodian.
- Buy a stranger a free pizza.
- Visit people at a nursing home.
- Offer a couple of hours of baby-sitting to parents.
- Slip paper hearts that say “It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week! Have a great day!” under the windshield wipers of parked cars.
- Have a charity day at work, with employees bringing nonperishable food items to donate.
- Serve refreshments to customers.
- Draw names at school or work, and have people bring a small gift or food treat for their secret pal.
- Remember the bereaved with phone calls, cards, plants, and food.
- Treat someone to fresh fruit.
- Pay a compliment at least once a day.
- Call or visit a homebound person.
- Hand out balloons to passersby.
- Give free sodas to motorists.
- Transport someone who can’t drive.
- Say something nice to everyone you meet today.
- Volunteer at an agency that needs help.
- Send home a note telling parents something their child did well.
- Organize a scout troop or service club to help people with packages at the mall or grocery.
- Host special programs or speakers at libraries or bookstores.
- Volunteer to read to students in the classroom.
- Write notes of appreciation and bring flowers or goodies to teachers or other important people, such as the principal, nurse, custodian, and secretary.
- Incorporate kindness into the curriculum at area schools, day care centers, or children’s classes in faith organizations.
- Tell your children why you love them.
- Write a note to your mother/father and tell them why they are special.
- Pat someone on the back.
- Write a thank-you note to a mentor or someone who has influenced your life in a positive way.
- Visit hospitals with smiles, treats, and friendly conversation for patients.
- Give free car washes.
- Clean graffiti from neighborhood walls and buildings.
- Tell your boss that you think he/she does a good job.
- Tell your employees how much you appreciate their work.
- Let your staff leave work an hour early.
- Have a clean-up party in the park.
- Tell a bus or taxi driver how much you appreciate their driving.
- Have everyone in your office draw the name of a Random Acts of Kindness buddy out of a hat and do a kind act for their buddy that day or week.
- Give a pair of tickets to a baseball game or concert to a stranger.
- Drop off a plant, cookies, or donuts to the police or fire department.
- Call an estranged family member.
- Volunteer to fix up an elderly couple’s home.
- Be a friend to a new student or coworker.
- Renew an old friendship by sending a letter or small gift to someone you haven’t talked with in a long time.
- For one week, act on every single thought of generosity that arises spontaneously in your heart, and notice what happens as a consequence.
- Offer to return a shopping cart to the store for someone loading a car.
- Invite someone new over for dinner.
- Buy a roll of brightly colored stickers and give them to children you meet during the day.
- When drivers try to merge into your lane, let them in with a wave and a smile.
- Buy cold drinks for the people next to you at a ball game.
- Make a list of things to do to bring more kindness into the world, and have a friend make a list. Exchange lists and do one item per day for a month.
- Use an instant camera to take people’s photographs at a party or community event, and give the picture to them.
- As you go about your day, pick up trash.
- Send a letter to some former teachers, letting them know the difference they made in your life.
- Buy books for a day care or school.
- Slip a $20 bill to a person who you know is having financial difficulty.
True Kindness is Helping Someone Who Cannot Pay You Back
By Anthony K Wilson Sr
You will have many opportunities in life to help those who can never repay you in some way, but compassion has a greater reward than any payback ever could…
I often marvel at how the holiday season seems to bring out a level of kindness that never seems to be as intense or consistent in the earlier parts of the year? Why does society seem to ramp up its receptive nature to perform these random acts of kindness at such a limited window when compared to the entire year as a whole?
Think about the last time you did something nice for someone. Did you expect, or receive, something in return? While there is nothing negative about being paid back or about receiving some other form of appreciation, there is a special way of kindness that is much better.
When you show kindness to someone who cannot give nor do anything for you in return, you are expressing a wonderful kind of compassion. It is doing something for a fellow human being, without any expectations. There are no strings attached to compassion, nor are there any conditions. This makes compassion the purest form of kindness that exists.
If you consider all the people who are in your daily life, you will see that you have many opportunities to show kindness every day. There are also many people whom you do not see very often, and even strangers. Each and every person in the world needs, deserves, and appreciates kindness. You will not need to look very far to find plenty of them every day.
When you show that you are a compassionate individual by extending kindness, you will deepen your respect for yourself. Other people will soon learn to respect you as well. The reason for this is that expressing kindness shows that you are a person who cares about others.
In today’s world, especially, there is a great need for kindness and compassion. Many people feel empty and alone. It is not hard to find many situations to show family members, friends and even strangers that each one does count. You may not have considered it this way before. The simple fact remains that whenever you show kindness to a person, you are letting him know that he matters.
Even the smallest act of kindness can truly make a difference in a person’s life. When it is sincere and unconditional, you may even be helping him to believe in himself. The tiniest act of kindness can be a blessing that he will always remember. You have the gift to make such an impact in a person’s life!
Kindness with Class
We had just finished thirteen miles of hiking in the Smokey Mountains. We were tired and our muscles ached as we made our way back to New England. The cramped car ride to the airport followed by a two hour flight left our legs in worse condition than they were when we first came off the mountain we just climbed.
When I heard that two seats in first class on our next flight were available for a small upgrade fee, I jumped at the opportunity. We agreed to blow our budgets and paid the fee to upgrade our tickets. Our spirits lifted immediately. At least we would end our adventure in comfort and style.
Our travel has always been arranged on a budget, so flying first class was a new experience for us. As we boarded the plane, we felt as if we were part of an elite group. We took our seats and were happy to join the other few passengers who could fly in such luxury. It was almost as if we had a sense of pride to be sitting with the group of people that surrounded us.
As we chatted away about hiking, waterfalls and bears, I could hear people around us talking about busy schedules and business meetings. It wasn’t long before I realized that these people were accustomed to flying in luxury. They are important people I thought to myself.
We noticed that the stewardess was working non-stop to ensure the comfort of the first class passengers. She could not walk by a seat without receiving an order. I thought about how much she must love her job as she smiled kindly at each person while attending to their needs.
As the stewardess walked by our seats near the end of the flight, I looked at her and said, “Thank you and I hope you have a great night”. She stopped at our seats with a look of disbelief on her face, bent down, looked at me and said, “Excuse me”. I repeated my words and she smiled in a rather funny way, almost as if I had asked her a question that she did not know how to answer.
After a few moments the stewardess walked back to our seats. She asked us what company we were traveling for. “I can tell you work with the public,” she said. “Why do you think so?” I asked. She answered very quietly ” because you are the only passenger here to say thank you or stop to say something nice to me tonight and I really appreciate your kindness.”
The sense of belonging to the elite group of people in first class disappeared as we heard her words. Our seats in luxury offered us more than a comfortable ride. We were reminded that without kindness, we would be flying in no class.
Paid in Full
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.
Instead of a meal, he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry and so she brought him a large glass of milk.
He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”
“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”
He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”
As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strengthened also. He had been ready to give up and quit.
Years later, that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.
Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, he went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor’s gown, he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day, he gave special attention to the case.
After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested from the business office to pass the final billing to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge, and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words:
“PAID IN FULL WITH ONE GLASS OF MILK…. ”
Dr. Howard Kelly
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
It was Friday, February 19, 1999. I was sitting in my car dazed, confused and very much in turmoil, because I had just buried my beloved two year old son, Jarod Charles, 15 minutes ago.
I had left in my car to get away and was completely numb to all around me. As I sat at the stop sign, I was so completely unaware that I started to proceed out of turn. The fellow across from me honked madly, gave me the “finger” and mouthed a few obscenities that I did not fail to miss.
I sat there so completely stunned and then I became so filled with spontaneous anger that I was shaking. I thought to myself, what a low life scum bag jerk to “flip me off” after I just buried my son. I peeled away and was simmering on the point of boil.
I drove back to the graveyard, have giving it enough time for the rest of the mourners to be gone, to have private time with my son. As I sat there, I became more upset that that man’s single act was crowding my mind when I just wanted to weep and talk to my little boy before my flight that night.
As I thought, I came to realize something that made me fill with shame instantly. WHO AM I TO BE ANGRY AT THAT MAN?? HOW WAS HE SUPPOSED TO KNOW?? In fact, I asked myself if I could still count on both hands or if it was time to start on my toes, how many times I had done that exact thing.
Then came the reality of it. And here is my point. It is about random acts of kindness, not random acts of unaware cruelty.
Like I said, how was he to know I had just buried my baby? But the sad thing is, how I am to know that the kid I cursed, a punk, about 2 months ago for nearly sideswiping me wasn’t on the brink of suicide and my gesture pushed him to the edge?
Or how about that little old man that I cursed until I even had to blush because he was not paying attention and missed the whole red light?? Or how about that lady that took MY PARKING spot at the mall?? How am I to know that the little old man wasn’t deep in memory of a loved one past….or how about the lady simply just didn’t see my blinker because she was worrying about getting her shopping done to get home to take care of her kids???
Ok, maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but really, its true…we know no one until we’ve walked in their shoes.
So please, the next time you feel anger, frustration, etc towards a stranger….think before you act. It’s the one think I like about life…it’s ok to be a hypocrite…one merely learns from their mistakes…or better said, past actions.
Instead, try to be overtly nice. For if they are truly in the wrong, perhaps your kind gesture will set them on a kinder, more aware approach. And please, tell someone you love them today….Life is very short….Live each minute like it is your last.
Lyrics to song by Paul Overstreet
There but for the grace of God go I.
There’s a man on a corner with a cardboard sign that reads
I will work for food
A woman stands beside him with hungry eyes that plead
Our children are hungry too
Some may say I’m foolish for giving to their cause
I’ve become a believer that heaven’s helped us all
Oh there but for the grace of God go I
How without compassion can we pass them by
Oh it could be you it could be me the world has cast aside
There but for the grace of God go I
When I think about my home late in the evening time
How we’ve been blessed with much more than we need
Keep a warm fire burning when it’s cold outside
We don’t have to worry that we might freeze
How can I go to bed at night and sleep so gracefully
If I haven’t given something for the least of these
Oh there but for the grace of God go I
How without compassion can we pass them by
Oh it could be you and it could be me the world has locked outside
There but for the grace of God go I
Oh the time has come for everyone to learn to help another
We could turn this whole wide world around if we only loved each other
Oh there but for the grace of God go I
How without compassion can we pass them by
Oh it could be you and it could be me the world has locked outside
There but for the grace of God go I
A sweet lesson on kindness
By an Anonymous Cab Driver
Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry.
Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, and made me laugh and weep. But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night.
I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partyers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.
When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation.
Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’
‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..
‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice. I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. ‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.
‘Nothing,’ I said
‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.
‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life.. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.
What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
Remembering Deeds of Kindness
By Mike Riley
Wouldn’t this be a better world if all of us would remember the many kind deeds which others have selflessly bestowed on us instead of recalling every insult and perceived injustice? Why do we usually let negatives dominate our mind rather than the good things that people have done for us? The following story is a powerful illustration of such a remembrance:
The legend is told of an Indian boy by the name of Waukewa who while playing with his sling-shot accidentally hit an eaglet and broke its wing. His first impulse was to send an knife through its heart, but as the bird looked up at him with frightened eyes, he had compassion on it and spared his life. He put a splint on the bird’s broken pinion and provided him something to eat and drink.
When the boy’s father saw the bird, he immediately insisted that the eaglet be killed, knowing that he might not long survive in a hostile environment without its mother. However, the boy begged his father not to kill him, telling him that he would take care of him. His father yielded, permitting the bird to live, but only on the condition that when the eagle was well, his son was to turn it loose into the wild.
As promised, when the eagle’s wing was fully healed, Waukewa took the captive bird far out into the forest and turned it loose. However, the eagle had so become attached to the boy, that he did not want to leave him. The boy then hid in the forest, and the eagle flew away to an unknown destination.
A year later, Waukewa was with a party of Indians who were fishing in a river connected to a great waterfall. While concentrating on his fishing, his canoe slowly drifted into the rapids. Immediately he seized a paddle and began to pull with all his strength. Unfortunately, the paddle snapped and Waukewa was swept toward the falls. As any Indian was taught to do, he calmly prepared himself to meet certain death.
Suddenly, he heard a piercing scream. Glancing up, he saw a great eagle flying toward him. As it hovered over his head, Waukewa grabbed its legs. As the canoe went over the falls, the eagle floated with him down through the air and landed him gently upon a sand-bar. Looking at the eagle, he recognized him as the bird he had befriended so many years ago by a scar on its wing.
On that day, Waukewa received a blessing, because the eagle had remembered the simple deed of kindness shown to him by Waukewa.
Friends, like the eagle in the above story, let us forget the slings and insults which have hurt us in the past, and remember the many blessings that have we have received through the kind deeds of others. If we will do this, we will be so busy counting our blessings, we won’t have time to nurse our wounds and feel sorry for ourselves.
Pass it on;
‘Twas not given for thee alone,
Pass it on;
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another’s tears,
Til in Heaven the deed appears –
Pass it on.Henry Burton, Pass It On
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.Adam Lindsay Gordon
This essay discusses the concept of kindness in detail and how this phenomenon can be seen in philosophy, religion and literature. Kindness is often regarded as the highest virtue and with good reason.
Kindness can be the compassion one feels for the troubled, the love one has for mankind in general, the concern one shows for those in need and the sympathy one harbors for those in hard times. It is safe to say that Kindness is also a form of worship and an important part of major world religions as well. It is not just an attribute but is a state of constant behavior in some people who wish to spread joy among others – a kind of happiness that knows no boundaries and is as limitless as it is universal. It can be in the form of small acts of everyday life. It is the kindness that makes anyone feel human and sets mankind apart from the rest of the species.
As Mark Twain likes to put it, kindness is the language spoken by the dumb, heard by the deaf and seen by the blind. It can be a smile in passing, a mild disposition, charitable behavior, tenderness, pleasantness or concern and compassion for others. Its importance and paramount position are prominent in many cultures and religions of the world.
Kindness in Philosophy
Rhetoric, Book II by Aristotle declares kindness to be an emotion that drives mankind to extend help to those in need without expecting anything in return. Such an act is born out of nature and is never intended for the benefit of self and is only focused for the good of others. Friedrich Nietzsche also made a point that love and kindness are two of the most curative herbs, which also play an uncanny role in inducing human intercourse. Then again, it goes without saying that kindness is indeed one of the Knightly Virtues.
Kindness in Religion
According to Bible, Kindness is considered as one of the seven virtues or more specifically, it is the opposite of Envy – one of the Seven Deadly Sins and is, therefore, a Contrary Virtue. Talmud, a sacred Jew scripture also lays immense significance on kindness by claiming that kind deeds are equal to all the commandments in weight. In Buddhism, Metta (loving kindness) is one of the Paramitas (Ten Perfections). Similarly, the 14th Dalai Lama declared his religion to be kindness when he penned the book, “Kindness, Clarity and Insight”.
Kindness In Psychology
A study was conducted which included more than 37 cultures of the world and around 16000 subjects were asked to mention the most desirable trait that they wish to see in a mate. Regardless of the gender, the first trait was kindness, and the second preference was given to intelligence.
History of Kindness
All the ancient civilizations such as the ancient Chinese, the Aryans and famous Greeks emphasized the importance of kindness. Many sacred religious scriptures also consist of kindness as their central theme.