Monday, January 6, 2014

Kindness

Do good deeds for the sheer sake of doing them  - don’t dwell on the thanks you should receive.
My mother was the most charitable person I have known. Though we had very little, she would give what she could to those who were needy. All her life she gave to orphans, and there were times when we had barely played with a toy or worn an outfit when we would find it was missing only to find out she had packed it and sent the items to the orphanage in Italy. Her favorite saying was, "do good and forget about it but do something wrong and think about it." Both my children grew up to be charitable because they watched their mother, father, and grandmother give. We learned that when we give to others we give to ourselves. I have learned that those who give often get greater satisfaction than those who receive. I believe this to be very true. Just think about the holidays and how good we feel when we give. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we gave as we do on holidays like Christmas? That's my goal this year.  

3 comments:

Lee said...

I love the comment: "Do good and forget about it but do something wrong and think about it."

I also want to add that in the mid 1990's I ran a kindness program, some of it under the banner of Edison's "Kindness Institute." I had a lot of help from the community, including from my friend and colleague Margaret Desjardins.

I had a billboard, a kiosk, and a newspaper column. The work also landed me on "Oprah." I called the program, "Risk a R.A.S.K." where "RASK" stood for "Random Acts of Senseless Kindness." But it could just as easily have stood for "simple" kindness.

My goal was to collect 5,000 reports of kindness that were committed, viewed, or experienced. I chose the number 5,000 because I wanted to offset with kind acts that same number of acts of reported violence.

I collected more than 5,000 reports, which I am storing in my house today. Some day I will donate them to Oprah or maybe string them together in a book.

They are all simple acts. Some of them were daring, like driving a stranded motorist to a gas station or to their home. Most were everyday kindnesses, though, that participants were just noticing; the acts had always been "perpetuated" except now they were seen with fresh eyes. My personal favorite is paying for the toll of a car behind them, which I still often do.

As I began to acquire reports of kindness, I did a little research. Among other things I learned that helping a stranger is actually like a cardiac booster shot. We are hard-wired to be "benevolent" to others. Although Darwin is known more for other things, he also said that very thing. To Darwin, kindness contributes to the survival of a species. Interesting, 'eh?

Anonymous said...

All of these words of wisdom sound great but who really follows them? Sure it's easy to say be kind but it isn't easy when so many people are not kind back.
How do you take care of those people?

Natala said...

I heard about your Random Acts of Senseless Kindness, and I must say I was very impressed with the work not only you accomplished but those of your students.