And here I go again…after just watching a baby kangaroo holding up her paw peacefully as she faced a group of aggressive teenagers, we are reminded that we need to try teach kindness as we would any other skill. It is neither innate or guaranteed. It is now a necessity if we are going to salvage morality and humanity. We need to show, demonstrate and practice it. How many times will a parent or teacher say, ‘show me how you’ve been kind today!’ as much as they would say ‘show me your homework!’ You see, when we ask ourselves or out loud ‘what has happened this world when we see or hear of terrible acts of cruelty?’ The answer is ‘kindness has left the minds and hands of someone’.
The ‘buzz’ or ‘negative need fulfillment’ that some people get from abusing someone or an animal is very short-lived. I wish they could for once experience ‘the high’ or ‘the self satisfaction’ from being kind. But, you can’t strip someone of a way of life and leave nothing in its place. You need to show another way of being.
I am firey; I can get angry when I see an animal being hurt; I can lose the fight for them by not fighting the good fight. Yes, I’m in danger of becoming less kind because of my frustration (ironically) over the lack of kindness in the world. But I’m mindful, and I’m in restoration mode.
There was a time I spent about five mornings a week in an area where there were animals – all in need of help. It took everything in me to drive in, to open the door, to get out what I needed from the boot, and walk by the residents dotted here and there – not knowing when I would be told to stop coming in. Some talked to me, some didn’t, but no adult helped. The kids did. There was a day I simply lost it, some of them were running a lame pony, others scaring another, and the water buckets were empty, even though a deal was made to keep them full. Yes, I was expecting a lot, but there was no hope of the adults doing it. So I gave out and I tried to make them see what it would be like for them. It didn’t work. I knew that as I looked from face to face. So, I pulled back before it was too late. I grabbed a bucket and filled it with feed and I walked up to one of the poorly ponies. She walked over with hesitation. One by one, my little friends followed. And I passed the bucket to the one whose only way of communicating with horses was to shout. I gave him the bucket and I asked him to talk nicely to the pony and just leave his little hand wherever the pony was ok with. Then I took this photo. This is the tiny hands of momentary kindness.
I can’t go into this area anymore. But it means the world to me that one of these little boys visits a vet close to them from time to time, to ask for me. He is eleven and no matter how many times I told them, I wasn’t a vet, they still believed I was.
Kindness is powerful: it breaks up tension, it can soothe pain; it can eradicate terrible memories; it is the seed of love for life, and all living things. Without it, we will continue to see the abuse we can barely look at or read on Facebook.
I hate too when we have to leave everything up to schools but when some adults don’t know what it is, it is up to schools to teach it like any other subject. Demonstrating kindness is like throwing a big rock into a pond: there is a ripple effect. We need to keep throwing it out there. Kindness can suffocate…. suffocate all that is hurting within us and outside of us.
Ironically, it is in the rescue world that I have witnessed pure and powerful kindness. A world where there is nothing but heartbreak. Kindness from friends seems to be the fuel that keeps tired minds and bodies going and unites us for a common cause: that all animals will know compassion and kindness.
Please teach the children in your life kindness. If they are kind to themselves first, they will be kind to those that cross their path. That’s the kind of kindness we need: the type that starts within us. x