Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — When did it happen? Where did it go? Was its leaving a slow and gradual process? Was its exit so subtle that we didn’t notice until it was gone? Does our society even realize the need for it? Does it matter anymore? Has it now become a nostalgic sentiment of a time gone by? What is it? Believe it or not, the missing element is the virtue of “kindness.”
According to the Merrian-Webster dictionary, kindness by definition, is simply “the quality or state of being kind; a kind deed, behavior, or favor.” It may also be described as “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” It is synonymous with “warm-heartedness, affection, warmth, gentleness, concern, or care.” Kindness still matters. It makes a difference in how we as human beings treat everyone and everything around us. It dictates how we will react or respond to an affront or offense — real or perceived.
In the last few weeks, I have become increasingly aware of the absence of the virtue of kindness in our society at large. In less than one month’s time, our nation has seen the senseless murder/suicide of college students on the west coast, the shocking stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by her two 12-year-old best friends in the mid-west, and the angry, racist, rant of a woman in Western New York, that occurred just days ago. The rant has now gone viral on YouTube, with over two million views. The woman was screaming racial slurs in front her two young children, (her three year old also echoed some of her most offensive words), and she refused to cease even after she realized that she was being videoed.
I am fully aware that there is more than the absence of kindness going on in the world around us, but I wonder: how many hostile confrontations could have been avoided if any of the participants had first responded with an ounce of kindness? How many incidents of road rage would not have occurred, if the one cut off in traffic, or beat to a parking space, gave the other driver the “benefit of the doubt” and didn’t respond in anger, retaliation or rage? (Maybe, the other driver really didn’t see you, and just changed lanes to simply get where they were going.)