Reflection: Kindness

Posted: 3rd January 2024

At its most basic level, kindness is making a sacrifice to make someone else’s life better.  The sacrifice may be as small as giving away your last cookie or as big as donating a kidney but ultimately it is recognising that another’s gain is worthy of your loss.  And the magic of it is this.  Something small and inconsequential to you can be of huge benefit to someone else.  I, for one, still smile at compliments people have long since forgotten giving and it’s incredibly empowering to realise you can make such a difference to someone’s life so easily.  If someone looks nice, say so, or if someone needs to borrow a pen, lend them one, or if someone needs a hand, give them yours.  After all, making the world a better place is very fulfilling way to spend a Wednesday morning.

But to limit kindness to individual acts, however valuable, is to understate its importance.  There is a powerful force in society which binds us together as people and drives us forwards.  In Ancient Greece and Christianity, this force was known as agape, in Islam mahabbah, in Buddhism it is called metta; almost every culture has it in some form.  In English, kindness is probably our best word for it.  Kindness meaning love as a verb.  Although kindness is a noun and love already is a verb, my point is that kindness, being kind, is what you do to create love.  You cannot have love without kindness.

In all our relationships, by being kind, we fill a reservoir of mutual respect and trust, and this becomes the basis for love.  Yes, love between partners but also love between family, love between friends and even love between strangers for we have a collective reservoir between all of us, fed by all people, that inspires a faith in and a love of humanity.

The world can be a dark place.  Bad things happen to good people.  And just as the reservoir can be filled, it can be emptied by lying, stealing, being unkind.  We are a generation that’s just been through a global pandemic and are being handed a divided, polluted and damaged world to fix.  It doesn’t take long looking at the news to see that our reservoir is running pretty low.  If ever there was a time to foster goodwill, it’s now.

If anyone is yet to make a new year’s resolution, I offer you this: be generous with your possessions and your effort.  Praise people’s strengths and protect their weaknesses.  Seek resolution over conflict, forgiveness over revenge.  And if you are ever stuck for what to do, do what is kind.  For what is kind is often obvious; it’s rarely easy but it’s always worth it.

Tom Postance
Senior Prefect

Categories: Reflection Senior News