“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can see.” — Mark Twain
In this fast-paced world, kindness and compassion take a back seat to selfies and social media, all lacking human interactions. It seems like everyone is waiting to be discovered or become rich, believing it holds the key to their happiness. Yet when they attain success, they long for their former life, having underestimated what fame and being in the public eye can do. Og Mandino said, “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
Kindness is fundamental to our human existence. From the moment we are born, we are shaped by the kindness and selfless service from our parents and family nurturing us for the next 18+ years. Humans are the only mammals with a prolonged gestation period. Other creatures rely on support for only a brief time before becoming self-reliant. We are powerless at birth and depend on our caregivers to provide for our needs. Therefore, kindness is part of our DNA. We are literally wired for kindness. Every person has opinions on how to improve the world, though the same efforts are not given to practicing kindness in our own daily life.
Kindness has many benefits, including increased happiness and a healthy heart. It slows down the aging process and improves relationships and connections, which indirectly boosts your health. People believe kindness is somehow tied to one's religious faith because of their moral vows; however, kindness does not require you to be religious or even spiritual.
Even animals can exhibit kindness. Two of the most beloved domestic pets that we can learn from are our dogs and cats. Dogs are referred to as man’s best friend partly due to the companionship and supportive compassion they give freely to their owners. Cats also show kindness and are treasured for their emotional support and connection. Kindness helps to expand our minds and restore faith in humanity. Kindness influences the giver more than the receiver and has been shown to have direct correlations with enhanced mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
It is no accident that kind humans are some of the healthiest people in our societies. You may or may not be familiar with the Random Acts of Kindness Day. It was first created in Denver, Colorado, in 1995, and nine years later, it had spread all the way to New Zealand. Random Acts of Kindness can include just about anything, including something as simple as taking a tray of muffins to work. We now celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17th. You may have heard your child speaking of this and what they did at school that week.
It is our responsibility to teach our children kindness and why it's so vital to our well-being. Let's remember we are the role models and need to ensure we have given our children the very best chance at life. If selfless kindness is the only thing they learn from us, the world will be a much better place.