World Kindness Day: Yes, The World Needs More Of That
It Costs Nothing To Be Kind
Sprinkle That Stuff Around
Every single one of us needs some kindness, even someone who seems grumpy all the time.
The dictionary defines kindness as "the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate." Think about that for a moment. Let that seep into your consciousness and then ask yourself if our world, or at least your corner of our world, is reflecting kindness enough.
If you spend any time at all on social media platforms, you will probably question whether or not there are still people who are kind and decent. People spend a whole lot of time attacking one another and cutting one another down online - yes, I'm looking at you, President Trump - rather than looking for the good in the world. It gets exhausting, frankly, and it's really easy to get jaded because of it.
I think of songs like Taylor Swift's "You Need To Calm Down," which in many ways seems like a reminder to anyone who hears it that it costs nothing to be kind and to accept people for who they are. Sure, the focus in that song is the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community, but the spirit behind it is focusing on kindness and just being decent rather than being hateful to each other.
Kindness is about just behaving like a decent human being and doesn't have to feature grand gestures. It's simple stuff; it's reaching out to a friend who you know is having a tough time. It's giving someone a tissue when you see they're crying and asking if they're all right, even if you don't know them. It's brushing the snow off a neighboring vehicle just because it's the nice thing to do. Heck, it could be even buying the coffee for the person in the vehicle behind you.
It's about bringing a little more light in someone else's world just because you can.
I was feeling particularly disheartened Nov. 12. While I hadn't watched the Don Cherry fiasco as it unfolded between Nov. 9 and Nov. 11, I'd seen the online fallout and people were quite frankly as snarky as they usually are during an election campaign. It gets discouraging after a while when you see people just being snippy and implying that someone is not a good person just because they happen to disagree with what was said. There was nothing in particular fired my way; it just struck me that once again, people hopped on one issue or another, got fired up as we all do, and the nastiness of some of the comments flying back and forth made me wonder if people could engage in polite discourse rather than making it seem as though they were attacking one another.
Then I saw the Alex Trebek clip.
For the uninitiated, a video clip from the current Jeopardy Tournament of Champions made the rounds on Twitter and other social media platforms Nov. 12, and it was quite probably the sweetest thing I'd seen in a while, short of puppy GIFs and videos. Contestant Dhruv Gaur was in third place, and apparently, the contestants had learned earlier during the taping of the show that Trebek was about to re-enter treatment for Stage IV pancreatic cancer. Gaur put as his Final Jeopardy answer, "What is 'We <3 you, Alex,'" and that was it. I started tearing up and smiling all at once because it was probably the kindest thing I'd seen online all day.
Sure, the answer knocked Gaur all the way down to $5 from $2000, and he knew he wasn't going to win anyhow - or at least, the odds were very slim - but he could have just said nothing at all. He could have let the news that Trebek shared about returning to cancer treatment just slide off like water off a duck's back, and put an answer that was more in line with what the Final Jeopardy question asked.
He chose to be kind, and while he is receiving a whole lot of attention for his kindness towards the Jeopardy! host, 15 minutes of fame was not his aim. It was to remind Trebek that everyone was pulling for him at a time when he might have felt very alone and probably a bit scared.
We need more instances of kindness in our world rather than the mudslinging ugliness that seems to be cropping up more and more in every corner. Kindness is about being a good human.
Let's strive for that, every day.