My week of mindless activity continues, which means that my week of random thought also goes along its merry way. Today I was gnawing over the idea of Kindness.
Actually, scratch that. I began with Kindness and then segued briefly into why (or why not) women change their names when they get married. I brought that segue home with me, posted a question on Facebook/Twitter about it and watched the whole thing ignite. Answers were fairly evenly divided into the Ayes and the Nos, the hyphenated and the not, those with messy Medicare cards and those with a shared family name. I was left thinking ‘now why didn’t I write a blog post about that?’.
Moral to the story? Save your big questions for bigger forums.
Anyhoo, back to Kindness.
I read this post on Mamma Mia last week, about how kind words from a stranger can turn someone’s day around. “Awww,” I thought. I’ve long thought that kindness is an underrated human trait. Then, on ABC-TV’s The Gruen Transfer last night, there was discussion of Kindness as a trend.
Advertisers are using social media to bestow ‘random acts of kindness’ (RAKs) upon people – usually people with large numbers of followers on Twitter or Facebook. In other words, people whom the advertiser thinks may be of some use in publicising said RAKs (and thus the advertiser) to their social networks. Call me cynical, but I think they need to come up with a new name. PMAM or Pre-Meditated Acts of Marketing comes to mind.
This idea of Kindness as a phenomenon, something people are talking about, interests me. Is it so rare in our world now that we have to broadcast it when someone is kind to us? It’s not a new idea. Back in the 1970s, on those long family holidays in the back of the Kingswood Station Wagon, my sisters and I (the TICH was yet to join the Von Tait Family Singers) used to sing a song called ‘Try A Little Kindness’. Heaven knows where we learnt it, or who sang it (I could Google it I know, but that would ruin the mystique), but I suspect it was a country singer of some description. It basically talked about how a random act of kindness would not only change someone else’s day, but your own.
So now I’m wondering (you know me, always wondering). Have you ever been on the end of a random act of kindness? How did it make you feel? Or perhaps you were the purveyor of said kindness? Was it a spontaneous thing or did you specifically set out to be kind? If you set out to be kind, does that somehow add selfishness to the kindness mix?
Always with the big questions.