I value kindness, that old fashioned virtue of helping out another human being in a gentle and unassuming manner. Simple acts such as picking up a toy dropped unnoticed from a pram, giving directions to a stranger, checking on a neighbour or giving a heartfelt compliment can make such a difference to the recipient’s day, way beyond the magnitude of the act. More profound acts of kindness take time, effort and commitment. As a psychologist I have heard many sad stories where small acts of kindness would have made a significant difference to someone’s life. Kindness can be contagious and I like to imagine that even the smallest kind act can start a stream of kindness which trickles through the community.
My oldest sister personifies the giving of a quiet and practical kindness. My middle sister has been challenged with complex health concerns her entire life and while she has lived independently since my mother died 15 years ago, she needs assistance with shopping, managing her finances and a myriad of medical appointments. My oldest sister turns up repeatedly, to provide hands-on help to her. It’s not an easy task, it requires patience and persistence. It’s thankless and often goes unnoticed.
Over the many years that my oldest sister has been providing this kindness I have never heard her complain. She has also never made any comments that would inflame my guilt; of moving away and not being available to help. This too is an act of kindness.
So thank you oldest sister, I notice and value your kindness and the world is a better place for your actions.