What if there is something we could all do to make the world a better place? [Yeah, yeah, I suppose it’s something like “be kind.” I know I should, I just don’t have the time.”] Bullshit, right?
Kindness USA (a non-profit composed, I can imagine you’re thinking, of a bunch of saps?) say they discovered in a poll that only 25 percent of Americans believe we’re living in a kind society, and more than half felt kindness has deteriorated over the last ten years. [PARADE, 1/1/17]. What or who’s to blame? 4 out of 5 in another poll of 10,000 teens by another bunch of saps, Making Caring Common, blamed…
Blamed what? Politics would be an easy target these days. Social media? Stress? The weather...?
Nope, they blamed their parents. (Although my mother and father are both “up there,” I know if I didn’t hold a door open for someone, I’d be fried to a frizzle by a bolt of lightning from “up there.”) Those teens responded that their parents were more concerned about their kids’ achievement and happiness than caring for others. Of course, in the inherent error in that last sentence, we discover the real blame: that the 4,000 teens didn’t see the connection between happiness and caring about others.
I mean probably the most influential person in the world, the Pope, tells us we need to be kind and care for each other; when the Dalai Lama is asked what his religion is, he answers “Kindness.” If their perspective’s not enough for you, even Lady Gaga says: “Kindness is showing love to someone else. I believe that kindness is the cure to violence and hatred around the world.” I’m glad she says this but it is a little gaga to bring “love” into it. You don’t have to love someone to be kind to them, and—duh—if we ALL were kind to each other we’d have world peace.
If you look at #4 in the Big Ten last week—Reforming Education—if parents aren’t going to model or teach kindness to their kids (c’mon parents, for crying out loud), then our education system must.
Maybe this is a little gaga, too, but, as I said in “Angels and Assholes” #5, 2016: “That brief interaction when you’ve received kindness or been kind to someone, the meeting of warm eyes and a friendly smile…a “thank you” that isn’t rote… is happiness. Why don’t we all realize that we’d be much happier taking the time to be kind rather than just blustering through life trying to please ourselves?