Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kindness is the Answer According to Five Experts

As a speech-language pathologist who does evaluations for a large school district, I travel quite a bit during my work day. I am greeted by a variety of things as I enter different buildings. Perhaps, a congenial receptionist, the funky smell of cafeteria food, students walking through the hall in a straight line with a proud teacher leading them, music from the auditorium, shouts from the gymnasium. Last week I entered a middle school and was welcomed by this:

Twenty six acts of kindness surrounded by peaceful doves in remembrance of the the lives lost at Sandy Hill Elementary School. I stopped for a moment and read each one. Here are a few examples:


  I felt warm inside and smiled as I perused each student's act of kindness. When I was through, I couldn't help but imagine being greeted by the opposite of these peaceful messages—a guard with a gun in his hand, which is what is being proposed by some to help prevent tragic events like the incident in Newtown, CT. It made me feel sad and nervous—not a planned reaction, just a reaction. I know violence on our planet is increasing. I know we as a society need to do our best to protect innocent people from harm, but is adding more guns to the world the answer, or will it make the problem worse?

My opinion is less is best. Has that solution been proven to work? When gun violence was on the rise in Australia, the government implemented tougher gun control laws, and shootings decreased by sixty per cent. Just saying. The facts are the facts.

Is gun control the true answer? If I knew, I'm sure I'd be featured on the cover of Time Magazine and headlining The Today Show. Having a strong security system and planned emergency responses are certainly important. It may be time to ban extremely violent video games that some kids spend hours a day playing. It's plain common sense to treat mentally ill individuals with psychiatric care and counseling, but not allow them to purchase guns. And what about stronger curriculums in kindness both at school and at home? Could being consciously kinder to each other really make a difference in decreasing violent crimes? Let's see what some experts have to say:

" Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. The rest will be given."—Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"Since God chose you to be the holy people, he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."—Colossians 3:12

"A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe."—Wayne Dyer

"When deeds and words are in accord, the whole world is transformed."—Chaang Tzu

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Being kind isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. How about thinking about a difficult or confrontational situation you're in? What is the kindest response you could choose? And how might that affect the outcome?"—Dali Lama

There you have it—from the ancient philosopher, Tzu to the New Testament and from modern day spiritual leaders: kindness can heal. The more we put out there, the more it will grow. I'd love to see more signs like the 26 Acts of Kindness, not only in schools, but in malls, movie theaters, libraries, etc. One thing's for sure. It certainly wouldn't hurt.

If you were given the assignment of writing a kind act on a post it note, like the ones above, what would you say. Let's start spreading the kindness.

My act of kindness: "Taking some time to talk to a slightly offbeat woman at the gym this morning and sincerely wishing all of you a wonderful day!"              


  1. I will find a way to "act" as I travel through my day.
    Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Hey Nan ~ Sometimes all it takes is a kind word and a smile. Enjoy your day :0) ~ Peggy

  2. Peggy, the topic of your post is one of the most important today. As an Australian I can attest to the the success of gun control, but I must point out that criminals here have been finding quite easy ways around importation strictures. Consequently the number of illegally held guns in Australia has risen substantially in recent years. If gun control is to work the government must be perpetually vigilant.

    That said, I believe that violence begins within the psyche and so the solution must be sought there too. Your five "experts" point us in the right direction. Thanks for an excellent blog.

    1. The problem of criminals getting guns regardless of gun control laws is a point many make. The solution to the increase in shootings is not easy. Good to know that overall, gun violence in Australia in diminishing. Practicing kindness and peace is something we can all do everyday starting now. If the "experts" are correct, the results will be wonderful. Often times the simplest solutions are the most effective. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hi, Peggy. I truly try to compliment someone on a daily basis. Don't make it every day because some days I am unable to go out since I am caregiver for my husband. Random acts of kindness go a long way. One that I do quite often is to tell the clerk "Put the change in your fund!" Amazing how that brings on a smile :-)

    Have you read Angel Eyes? It goes along with your post:

    1. Hi Sharla ~ And your poetry brings such beauty to the world! Hope your husband is feeling better and I'll check out that story. Thanks!

  4. Peggy, This post and your readers' comments remind me of the "How Full is Your Bucket?" philosophy. That when you show kindness you reap so many blessings, filling your own bucket, and when you treat someone badly, you hurt yourself asa much as the other (your bucket empties). We often have kind thoughts in our heads as we see people in stores and other public places. Share the joy. Compliment a great haircut or shoes or whatever. Enjoy the smile and the surprise you will experience from that person. The positive energy is cathartic.

    As for guns, I think about that photo from the 70s of a hippie putting a daisy in a rifle. I would like to do that to every gun owner. I wish that people weren't so angry and fearful about the world. I don't understand how owning guns makes people feel safer.

    Thanks for the kindness in this post.

  5. This post is a wonderful reminder on "how one should live and act" compared to how it is. Thank you for sharing this and remind me of things that are very important and that many people (sometimes including me) keep forgetting!! To take care of each other!!

  6. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and take a moment to at least smile. Over the past few years I've made a conscious effort to acknowledge good service and small kindnesses done by other people. It's amazing how much my positive comments have been appreciated, plus there's the bonus of a feel-good rush for me too!
    I enjoyed today's lovely post.