Recently there was an insert on CNN about a $20 million donation to the UCLA College to do research on kindness. The research will include exploring how witnessing acts of remarkable kindness can cause an uplifting emotional experience that in turn motivates the observer to be kind.“Our vision is that we will all live in a world where humanity discovers and practices the kindness that exists in all of us,” said Matthew Harris, the foundation’s co-founder and a 1984 UCLA graduate. “Much research is needed to understand why kindness can be so scarce in the modern world. As we seek at Bedari to bridge the divide between science and spirituality, through the establishment of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute we hope to educate and empower more and more people in the practice of kindness.”
This study really made me think. Is kindness such a rare event these days that people have to study it in order to help people be kinder to one another? When you think about it, it sounds absurd. But then I viewed my everyday surroundings, and I was shocked.
The first acts of unkindness I noticed was on the roads. As I was driving I realised how impatient people are on the roads. People drive fast, swerve in front of other cars and bully other drivers. Driving on the tail of other cars is a daily occurrence. Besides the obvious fact that this is extremely dangerous, it also amounts to bullying and setting a very bad example for your children. It also shows the narcissistic nature of society.
Another example of the unkindness of society I noticed recently was the story of a woman who’s car broke down in peak traffic. People could see she was in trouble but honked, cursed and yelled at her. In the end it was only a taxi driver that helped her while everyone else got angry because she was in their way.
There are many stories out there that shows the unkindness of people, but instead of focusing on that, let’s teach ourselves and our children to be kind:
- When driving with your kids in the car, be kind to other drivers. Give them space, don’t drive too fast and don’t curse and yell at other drivers.
- Always greet people respectfully no matter if they are hobos or CEO’s. Show the example of treating all people with respect.
- Easy on the gossip. We tend to gossip about others without even noticing it. Rather talk about the good in others.
- Show acts of kindness. Help someone to cross the street. Visit an animal shelter or old age home. Pick up garbage and throw it in the bin to be kind to the environment.
By showing kindness we teach our kids to be kind.