Friday, February 26, 2010

Kindness Lessons

I don't often devote much time to the effort required to understand why we as individuals are not, as a rule, more kind, generous, compassionate. I prefer to focus on outcomes, solutions and encouragement. However, as a researcher I also know that it is important to understand the factors and variables that contribute to concerns and issues. As such, and because a recent personal experience hijacked my assumptions I've been forced to redirect my energies.

While I believe that our communities do reflect the side effects of an increasingly selfish nature, I do not think it correlates directly with a lack of kindness. There are individuals who are more selfish by nature perhaps, so lets assume that these people are at the 'no acts of kindness' end of our continuum. You also have people who are inherently selfless, these people are at the other end of our continuum - 'daily acts of kindness'. Finally there are those that fall somewhere in-between. We should expect that everyone from the halfway point to the daily end are contributing acts of kindness more frequently than not, and yet that doesn't appear to be the case. There are many practical reasons I know, but the premise behind the dakband concept is that we need to learn kindness, expand our definition of it, and celebrate it as the glue that holds our communities and relationships together.

I am beginning to think that time is the real culprit. This realization came not by epiphany but experience, sadly. I was shopping with my four year old at our local Costco, my wrist adorned with dakbands, when I witnessed a gentleman struggling to load an enormous box onto his cart. To my great satisfaction another gentleman stopped to help and then quickly went on his way. It was the perfect dak. Yet, I actually found myself debating whether or not it was worth chasing him down to give him some bands. I was in hurry, my eldest son was waiting at the front for us, the four year old was cranky.....the list went on....I did not offer him any bands.

I was wrong. Kindness is ALWAYS worth the time it takes to recognize it.

This video appeared on Karma Tube today. When we think of time and kindness, lets think of these children. Can you imagine how the kindness expressed in this village is changing the world?

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