Mark Twain once wrote that “kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
I choose to believe that we are all capable of kindness but often let our selfishness prevent us from doing so.
UCLA recently received a $20 million-dollar gift to establish a Kindness Institute. The purpose of this institute is to study the science of kindness. It will focus on research about the actions, thoughts, feelings and social intuitions associated with kindness. It will also analyze how people who regularly act unkind might be encouraged to engage in kind acts instead.
After reading about this ridiculous waste of money, I thought surely there are stories about random acts of kindness that prove we aren’t to the point of needing research on being kind.
I realize we are knee deep in political drama and death and destruction stories, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found in that day’s news cycle.
The story of a nine-year boy in Florida was a classic example.
The elementary school he attended was having team spirit day. The boy’s teacher said he came to her and said he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt but didn’t have one. She said they discussed the possibility of just wearing an orange shirt. He told her he had one and could barely contain his excitement about wearing it.
On spirit day, the boy showed up wearing his orange shirt with a piece of paper attached with his homemade design of the UT logo drawn on it. He had pinned the paper to his shirt.
After lunch, she saw the boy had his head down and was crying because some of the girls had made fun of his sign. The teacher said the boy was devastated.
She posted the story on social media trying to get the attention of the University of Tennessee. She was later contacted by the university. They wanted to send a package to the boy and the rest of the classmates. The package arrived and the boy was overwhelmed passing out the goodies to his class.
The University of Tennessee decided they would take the boy’s design and make it an official school shirt with a portion of the proceeds going to STOMP out Bullying. This is a national non-profit agency that is dedicated to eradicating bullying of all forms. The shirt became so popular, the UT online store website crashed. The boy was even reportedly offered a scholarship to the school.
A bottle containing the ashes of a Texas man was found on a beach in Florida. Inside the bottle was a handwritten note from the man’s mother and daughter and four one-dollar bills. The note included the phone number of the deceased man’s family. The money was to help pay for phone calls she hoped would be made to update her on her son’s journey.
“This bottle contains the ashes of my son Brian who suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on March 9, 2019. I’m sending him on one last adventure,” the mother wrote.
The woman who found the bottle was a patrol officer. She read the note and was moved to tears. She enlisted a friend who owned a charter boat to ferry the ashes far off the Florida coast. The officer called the mother to let her know her son’s journey was continuing.
A Wisconsin school bus driver is being praised for her small gesture of kindness.
On his first day of kindergarten a young boy waited with his mother for the school bus to arrive. The mother said the child was very nervous about his new adventure. When the bus came down his street, the boy became very quiet. As the doors to the bus opened and the child had to get on the bus, he began to cry. The mother was distraught. Just as the boy stepped onto the bus, the driver reached back from her seat and held the little boy’s hand. The bus driver spent the rest of the ride talking to the boy and encouraging him about school. By the time they got to school, the boy had stopped crying. The mother says he is eager to go every day since.
The driver said she believes showing someone you care can make a big difference in their day.
True kindness requires helping those with whom we don’t relate. In a world that is full of discrimination and biased judgements, kindness can be viewed as a flower growing through the concrete.
Shame on us if we need experts and studies to tell us that.