Random, adj., (fr. Old French randon "rush, disorder, impetuosity,"). Unknown, unspecified, odd. Suspiciously out of place. Haphazard. Determined by accident rather than design. Done without method or conscious decision.
Is that what you think when you think of being kind? We don’t. We believe kindness is a specific, conscious action, something that is never out of place.
Some of our most recent posts have talked about connecting with others, expressing love for each other on various planes, being of service to others, and all of that to and with ourselves. None of those things can happen without the most basic of interpersonal connection - kindness - consciously acting in a kind, considerate, and compassionate manner.
Consider some of the most often cited quotes regarding kindness.
· Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. -Mark Twain
· Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. -Seneca
· Kindness makes a fellow feel good whether it’s being done to him or by him. -Frank A. Clark
· The only way to tell the truth is to speak with kindness. -Henry David Thoreau
· There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. -Fred Rogers
To those we add our own. Kindness is not a random act.
Random acts of kindness became a popular theme taken from the phrase “Random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty,” coined in 1982 by journalist and author Anne Herbert. Since then, entire organizations have been founded to encourage and publicize random acts of kindness, and time to encourage people to act in a kind manner on a day or week set aside for that. As much as we applaud the efforts of so many to encourage kindness, we question the need for so many qualifiers. We prefer to look at kindness as a natural part of living, no different from breathing. The idea of keeping kindness circulating among us should be as automatic as keeping blood circulating through our bodies. Kind acts should not be considered out of place at any time or anywhere there are people.
Kindness is not some esoteric concept. The definitions of kindness include:
· The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. -Dictionary.com
· A sympathetic or helpful nature; to give pleasure or relief. -Merriam-Webster
· The quality of being generous, helpful, and caring about other people. -The Cambridge Dictionary
· Charitable interest in others: altruism, beneficence, benevolence. -The Free Dictionary
· A benevolent, friendly, or warm-hearted nature or disposition; ready to assist, or show consideration for, others; sympathetic, obliging, considerate. -The Oxford English Dictionary
These are the basics of considerate, respectful, and loving behavior. If they sound familiar they are the same attributes we’ve encouraged when we’ve written of connecting with others, expressing love for each other on various planes, being of service to others, and all of that to and with ourselves. One acts kindly by greeting everyone with a smile, being warm and uplifting, respecting and accepting others, being thoughtful, being considerate, and generally treating everyone as you would want to be treated.
Paraphrasing author and scholar C S. Lewis, we continue to encourage you to not waste time bothering whether you are performing acts of kindness, act as if you are and you will presently come to always be kind.
Kindness can be a powerful force in our lives. We want to be treated with kindness and compassion and for good reason. It feels good when somebody accepts us for the person we are, is considerate and loving towards us, and treats us warm-heartedly. How powerful can it be? We leave you with a final quote on kindness from Fred Rogers.
“Imagine what our neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”
How powerful is that? All our neighbors, all the world, working toward a single, unified goal. No, that’s not something that can be done randomly. Make kindness a conscious action that is never unexpected and never out of place. Make it a habit. Not just some random act.