kindness · random acts of kindness

Is it really that hard to be kind?

It struck me recently that people say to me a lot “You’re so nice” or “You’re so good”. It is usually after I have done something unremarkable like bake a cake when they are coming to visit, bring something homemade when I visit them, offer to mind their kids for an afternoon so they can pack for their holidays, ask them if they need anything brought back from Ireland, etc. 

To me, those acts of kindness are not something to be amazed about. To my mind kindness should be a normal trait in people. I was brought up by kind, helpful people and taught that there are certain things that you just do, like 
 – Sending condolence cards.
 – Sharing your homemade / homegrown produce with friends or neighbours.
 – Offering help to others if you see that they need it, be that helping someone lift their pram down stairs, picking up something an elderly person has dropped, letting the person in the supermarket queue who only has two items go ahead of you, and so on. 
 – Entertaining guests for the pleasure of it – from birthday parties and dinner parties to inviting a friend who has called by to stay for dinner.

More and more I find that people exclaim how good and kind others are but don’t take up the baton and be kind themselves. Frankly I find it sad that there is a need for the organisation Random Acts of Kindness. They offer kindness resources and daily inspiration. If we’ve come to a stage where people need that, then ok – use it. But have we really come to the stage where we have to learn how to be kind? 

I realise that life is very busy for most of us and many find that just managing to get through the day is stressful enough. But that is no excuse. Being kind doesn’t take a lot of time or a lot of thought. You just need to open your eyes and act on what you see. You don’t need to remember everyone’s birthday or look after all the children in the neighbourhood. But open your eyes! Smile and say hello to the old man who passes you in the street. Bake a cake for the school bake sale. Offer people a cup of tea when they call to visit. Say a sincere thank you to the parcel delivey guy. Hold the door open for the person behind you when leaving a building. There are so many small ways to be nice and kind without it costing you the earth or taking up your time.  

There is a saying, treat others as you would like to be treated. My fourth class teacher told us that. Is it really so hard to do?

Modern Dad Pages

Modern Dad Pages

14 thoughts on “Is it really that hard to be kind?

  1. Such an important quality that seems to be forgotten so often. My parents are the kindest people I know, they instilled that into me when I was growing up. Now I work very hard to pass that trait on to my little ones. Demonstration is the best way to teach. Thank you for spreading kindness in the world. 🙂 #wineandboobs

  2. The Mother says – What a lovely post and you're right, these are just basic acts of kindness.
    Lucas says – The Mother encourages me to try and do something nice for another person at least once a day which I try and do but sometimes I forget!!! #wineandboobs

  3. I love this post and have often wondered the same – whether our fast-paced society has killed the kindness that used to be second nature. I don't always manage it, but try to be kind to those around me. I am also very big on saying hello to the little old ladies and men in my suburb; they always look so chuffed that someone has said hello! One doesn't speak any English (big Greek population where I live) and she always says, 'Hello, thank you' which I always thought was sad. Thank you for saying hello? It made me want to say it all the more 🙂

  4. I agree, these acts of kindness are things I do without thinking. On the way to work I walked behind a lady with a ladder in he tights this morning. So I discreetly mentioned it incase she wanted to pick up a fresh pair on the way in. I leave “read” books from charity shops in coffee shops for someone else to read. I hold doors open, I make a point of saying please and thank you. I'm trying to make sure my children see these qualities and know, kindness costs nothing and a little goes a long way.

  5. I agree. I let the man behind me go ahead in the grocery store line with his 3 items yesterday and he seemed astonished, like it had never happened to him before. One place I would love to see more kindness and courtesy is on the road. It blows my mind how awful drivers can be to each other. It's as if they climb into their cars and become Transformers with a directive to reach their destinations as quickly as possible at any cost and no regard for collateral damage.

  6. You are right, on the road people can be an absolute nightmare and thinking only of themselves. I'm sure a bit more consideration would reduce the amount of accident and road rage incidents.

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