Word-Of-the-Week #648: Kind

January 5, 2017 by  

Kind – helpful to others; considerate.

When was the last time you experienced a random act of kindness? How considerate are you of others? How willing are you to help someone without expecting anything in return?

This week The Parade Magazine’s article, “Let’s make 2017 the Year of Being Kind seemed like a great way to start the new year. Paula Spencer Scott writes, “Whoa.” That might be said by anyone who’s spent time lately on social media, behind the wheel or even ’round some holiday tables. Seems like we’re in a bit of a kindness crisis these days.

In fact, only 25 percent of Americans believe we’re living in a kind society, according to a poll by Kindness USA. More than half said kindness has deteriorated in the past 10 years. Kids are bummed too: In a Making Caring Common survey of 10,000 teens, 4 in 5 said their parents are more concerned with achievement or happiness than caring for others.

“There is less kindness in public life, which trickles down and invites people to be less kind in our personal lives,” says psychologist Harriet Lerner, author of Why Won’t You Apologize? (available Jan. 10). “But kindness is not an ‘extra.’ It’s at the heart of intimacy, connection, self-respect and respect for others.”

Please join Parade in scratching the surface to encourage a groundswell of goodwill in 2017. We believe that kindness is contagious and good for us—and that inspiring consequences really do spiral when we do simple, compassionate acts for others without expecting anything back. That’s why we’re celebrating some of the people, companies, organizations and communities who are working to make America kind again.

Not surprisingly, kindness is seen as key to anti-bullying programs too. Among the standouts: the Girl Scouts of the USA’s popular Be a Friend First program, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and the Kind Campaign, founded by two Pepperdine University grads, whose school assemblies, kind clubs and camps target girl-against-girl bullying.

Kindness is a value that transcends borders, race, faith and age. Orly Wahba founded a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring kindness after growing up as “that kid in black who sat writing morbid poetry” and working as a middle-school teacher. Life Vest Inside’s first effort, a video called “Kindness Boomerang,” has been seen more than 100 million times and led to her 2013 TED Talk on the magic of kindness.

“Whether you’re sweeping the streets, running the company or running the country, we’re all pieces of the puzzle, each as important as the other,” says Wahba, now CEO of Kindness USA. “Kindness is the tool to breaking down labels and barriers and seeing we’re all exactly the same. In a world that sometimes shows you bad, kindness shows you so much good.”

So here’s to a year of doing kindness and living kindness. It’s easy, it’s free, it feels good—and it really makes a difference.

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