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(Not so) Random Acts of Kindness

As I scroll down and see all the violence happening in the world, my heart breaks for the lives lost , my soul cries for justice and my mind wonders why such senseless bloodshed occurs.The truth is, I don’t know.

As a parent, one would wonder how the people who could do such violence were raised.Were they neglected? brainwashed? Were they a result of previous violent acts against their loved ones? Again, I don’t have the answers.But one thing I do know for sure, more violence isn’t the answer.
And so in this post as the world mourns,  I find myself reflecting on the other end of the spectrum:  the shining light of kindness. I’d like to think that true kindness, one that is not motivated by personal gain can influence someone for the better. It is probably best described by a quote from John Wooden as “doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

 The questions then are,(1)” Is kindness innate or can it be taught? (a) how can we build kindness in the next generation so that these dark moments in history may be prevented? I then sought for answers on the web.

(b)Is kindness innate or can it be taught? Both. Developmental psychologist Dacher Keltner of University of California Berkley proposes that we, as a species, are born with tendencies toward kindness.We feel pleasure when we do good for somebody else.Even at an early age our inclination to altruism is present but they need to be nurtured.In 2013,BBC reported on a study by Northeastern University  which concluded that our willingness to help others is flexible and can influenced by little changes in perception. This means in a way, we can encourage people to be kind by showing them how to be such.

(2)How can we build kindness in the young? According to Marilyn Price-Mitchell,PhD, a developmental psychologist and founder of Roots of Action, an organization working towards positive youth development, there are four steps in encouraging children be givers of kindness: (1) Comprehending the significance of kindness, (2) Making a Kindness Project (3) Allotting time to share (4) Practicing Acts of Kindness.
In order to assist children to be kind, we need to know and understand the (1) benefits of kindness.Stress relief expert Lauren Miller echoed scientific studies and enumerated many positive physiologic effects of practicing kindness:
  • Increased immune system
  • Improved Cognitive Performance
  • Increase in energy
  • Lower heart rate
  • Balanced cortisol levels which result in less internal stress
  • More likely to live a longer and more satisfied life
  • Laughter and inner joy resulting in decreased stress hormones; lower blood pressure; diminished pain
Socially speaking, promoting kindness is believed to be significant in reducing bullying to create warm and welcoming environments, especially in schools.
(2)Kindness projects are also an effective way of fostering kindness. These activities, typically done one per day, may include activities that children can do for someone or doing something pleasant like going to their favorite park.Simple activities such helping with chores, letting someone else go first or hugging someone may be done and documented in a diary in school or by a family.

I  also found that some people use kindness calendars in which children have specific things to do everyday.

However, I don’t think these activities can be called completely random, right? Or maybe it’s just a matter of semantics.Would you follow one?

(3) Once a week, the children may share their experiences in the home or the classroom. Sharing one’s experiences helps someone reflect and find meaning.

(4) Keep doing acts of kindness. Once children become engaged in activities showing kindness, it is up to adults to reinforce this value.

What do I think? It is interesting to see that researchers are now piqued by kindness and its effects on human behavior.

I think that we should all purify our intentions in being kind. Are we kind for kindness’ sake or do we want the recognition?  Is our kindness serving a higher purpose? Are we showing acts of kindness to direct attention to social issues such as poverty and abuse? Each act of kindness is needed in this world we live in but one that is pure certainly is more rewarding.

I think in modern society, it easy to be kind when people are kind to you. However,it is a lot more difficult to do so when you experience violence or hurt. I got deeply concerned when I saw on the news that the French President promised a “merciless response” to the people involved in the attacks.

On that note, I leave you with two apt wise quotes: one from Isabel Bowdery,a South African woman who pretended to be dead during one of the attacks and the other from a great man, Martin Luther King Jr.

An excerpt from Bowdery’s Facebook post which has gone viral but is now unavailable ,” As i lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you. over and over again. reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those i love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep belieivng in the good in people. to not let those men win. Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people. to live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamt about but sadly will now never be able to fulfil. RIP angels. You will never be forgotten”

Her sentiments resonate with Martin Luther King’s powerful words:

Let’s be kind to one another, whether random or not.<3

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  1. Nowadays, genuine acts of kindness is very to expect from people… They usually do it but with something in return.. Our intentions must be clean.. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. I believe that kindness starts in our own home. If parents are showing acts of kindness, children are sure to follow suit. 🙂

  3. Its best to teach kids random acts of kindness by showing examples then having a conversation about it so that the child will understand.

  4. my fave ramdom acts of kindness is "paunahin yung asa likod ko sa cashier"

  5. this is what we need nowadays, people doing act of kindness without expecting anything in return. i hope politicians will feel the same for our country. 🙂

  6. I do believe that even we do kindness everyday, we help others and giving what we have to others if we don't have Christ in our life it's worthless in the sight of God. Nakakalungkot lang talaga.

  7. Kindness is one of the best character traits that my parents influenced on me. I always do an act of kindness and avoid being mean to other people.

  8. I agree when you say that we need to reflect on why we do act of kindness. I am not into people posting videos of them doing good things to others. In fact the Bible says that we should keep it a secret when we give to others – for God rewards those who do this in secret. Sometimes, people just do it for the approval and clicks. Sad.

  9. I am so saddened by this. Nakakalungkot panoorin ang news lately.. 🙁

  10. Naging malambot "lalo" ang puso ko nung nagkababy na ko and I cant barely watch violence anymore. Hay, let us all pray that all violence will stop. We need more peace this Christmas season.

  11. Matagal ko na gusto gawin regular thing yang random act of kindness, medyo mahirap pero i think doable naman.

  12. Truly a devastating event and a step back for all of us. Kindness seems to be a rare act nowadays but hopefully posts like yours and your advent calendar help to spread kindness more.

  13. Humans are said to be innately kind and compassionate (I saw that in an episode of Brain Games in NatGeo haha), and except for sociopaths, most of us tend to act on kindness. However, it is up to us to make sure our kids grow in an environment where kindness is honourable.

  14. I agree! That's why my cover photo in Facebook is "Choose Kindness" 🙂

  15. I always talk to my son about what's happening around the world and stress the importance on being kind to one another. just the other day, I was thinking out loud "What's happening to the world?!" while reading news about the attacks in Paris and the retaliation in Syria. My son suddenly said, "It's a test of our faith mom. It's in the Revelation." and I fell silent. We just prayed and I went to bed still thinking about the children affected. I guess since we can't do much about these attacks from our own home, the best thing to do aside from prayers is to teach our kids to be kind so the world can be a better place when they grow up. 🙁

  16. Ugh It's alarming how terrorist does these kind of things. I wish everyone safety. I also love the Calendar Idea. ~Pearliza Paguio

  17. i like the concept of the calendar, makes it easier by giving you a clear direction 🙂

  18. Sa panahon ngayon konti na lang ang may kindness in their hearts 🙁 Mas madami na atang mapagsamantala lately.

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