In honor of my daughter’s 15th birthday, I would like to repost an essay she wrote last year about kindness. Keri is one of the kindest people I know, and I am so grateful she is my daughter.
“Kindness is like a spark from a match that creates a forest fire. The forest is a forest of anger, selfishness, and cruelty. Kindness can burn through all of those things.” -Keri Cuthriell
Kindness by Keri Cuthriell
One thing people today overlook far too much is the simple yet effective act of kindness. In this cold new world overtaken by selfishness and greed is a desperate need for those little acts of care. Just a helping hand or a quick show of compassion can turn another person’s day completely around.
Sometimes even a friendly smile can save a life. People often forget others and become very engrossed in their own problems. This leads to a negative downward spiral and a chain reaction of selfishness. A generation of selfish people is the last thing we need today. Imagine if everybody was willing to be kind and compassionate to each other. If it was not forced, but a habit. This would change the world.
Everyone has experienced difficult times at one time or another when things were not going well and needed an act of kindness to brighten up their day. If it wasn’t for that one person, that one act of kindness, they might not have the life they have today. Remember how effective just the smallest act of kindness can be. Know that you can do this for others. In the long run, you may not be just helping one person but multiple people. Kindness is like the spark from a match that creates a forest fire. The forest is a forest of anger, selfishness, and cruelty. Kindness can burn through all of those things.
It’s very important for people to remember that anger is powerful. So is selfishness along with cruelty. However, kindness overpowers all. You may think your kindness makes a difference for other people only, but it doesn’t. What comes around goes around, and your act will be returned. Your most important reward is knowing how much you just helped someone in need. You feel satisfaction knowing that you might have saved someone’s day, week, or even life. What you have really been given is the most precious gift you can receive, the gift of kindness. Everyone is capable of being kind. Everyone can help. The real question is, why don’t we? This should not be a question. Kindness should come automatically. It should be common rather than a rarity. We can make this happen and do something kind today.
“No matter how small, an act of kindness never goes unnoticed.”
Keri, I love who you are. You make the world a better place. Happy Birthday!
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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.