In today’s world, we seem to value accomplishment, material success, and image. Yet, what is most important? Is it how many awards you win, how much money you make or what people think of your sense of style? What about kindness? In what ways do you value kindness? Kind hearts stick out among the common ways of our world. A kind person is made up of a genuine heart, caring nature for things that do not have self control, and the ability to function considerately without the approval of others.
It is funny in our society how we place such importance on our home-we treat it highly compared to someplace else. We clean and take care of our homes, even for the satisfaction of others, but when we are in public we sometimes neglect to bat an eye toward the bottle laid on the ground. Can we see the same pattern with relationships? How many of us are careful to treat our friends, our grandparents, teachers and our employers with respect, compassion and care, yet we forget that our coaches, classmates, neighbors and the person in line behind us at Starbucks is a person deserving of respect, compassion and care, too?
Have you ever asked yourself what drives you to be the person you are? If someone were not looking would you have reacted the same way? What how do you value kindness? In what ways do you show kindness? How is it seen? Kindness can be describe as treating people who have nothing to offer us, the same as the person holding the key to our futures.
With these questions Spectrum asked students and teachers of West Bloomfield High School (WBHS) how they felt on the topic of kindness. Eleventh grader Warren Brooks spoke on the importance of being kind, “Being nice to people is an important trait. You should treat others how you want to be treated, say something nice or give them something. If you’re not nice you may not have friends.” Bianca Hoban, 11th grade, said she values kindness a lot. “Kindness is helping someone without having anyone ask. In an effort to help the Mansour family I not only did my DECA project on them, but also attended family events and spread the word on boating safety, but mainly helped them get through a difficult time. Kindness doesn’t have a word definition, its shown by the actions of others.” said Hoban. Both Brooks and Hoban spoke on the effects of kindness, and the impact it holds on their lives and others. Mr Thomas Keegan, science teacher, said, “I definitely value kindness, I try to let my kindness go through me and unto others, like a chain reaction. I see lots of kindness in the school in people helping each other if someone drops books or is a having a bad day, especially with such a big school its great to have kindness as a factor. I pass it along by smiling and speaking to others, giving time to others. In our world kindness allows us to work better with each other, gain understandings, points of views and shows respect and value of them and others and their opinions and we can look out for our well being in general.” Everyday we see society live for one another when ultimately your life should be lived for yourself and the improvement of our world, how we conduct ourselves should benefit society and originate from healthy motives.
A key of kindness is that it is not limiting or depicting of a certain religion or group, but is a concept that is easiliy understood by all. It breeds healthy relationships and brings happiness to both recipients and the demonstrators of it. A caring nature that extends to the vulnerable and helpless of our world, and the ability to choose consideration without the approval of others is a quality that should flourish throughout our world. Too often what characterizes our world is the controlling factors of money and power, not kindness. Referring back to the bottle laid on the ground and the many reasons one may or may not have picked it up, say it was a dollar or another object society gives importance to; does that change your reaction? Most likely the answer is yes; one would eagerly grab the dollar, even chase it if it began to blow away. And no it is not totally terrible to want the dollar but overall, why is our primary motive not to better our world and make better people of ourselves but to better our image, our resume or our bank account?
We should aim to deal with what is in front of us, be proactive citizens, work hard, show effort, and present a generous heart to all we come in contact with. So the same eagerness shown in retrieving the dollar should be equal if it were garbage. Ms Elizabeth Grabill, science teacher, said, “Kindness is one of the most important parts of relationships, it changes the way people feel and live, its motivating and people respect it. In school I see people helping others with home work or if someone drops something and will help pick it up, sitting at lunch, asking how someones day is going or if anyone needs help with anything. In our world if you’re not kind, nothing else works, I was talking to a student and we were just baffled at some of the chaos going on in our world, it was hard to wrap our heads around the cruelty. I mean if we all repect each others bodies, space, opinions, and beliefs and be kind it is easy.” Kindness truly is the basis of so many things in our world it drives motives, relationships, and actions and is such a simple concept. “It’s good to be nice to everyone, because there is a lot to gain from everyone, everyone has something to offer. I really appreciate my cheer buddies, they are kind to meet and to the football team as a whole every game, I thank them for that. If everyone was nice then there wouldn’t be wars or major problems,” said 12th grader Myles Jackson. Jaida Elam 10th grader, said, “Kindness is helping someone when they are down, lifting them up, being there for people and encourage the, just love that person and treat them as you would want to be treated. It is important because you never know what people are going through. I show kindness by being there for people, giving them compliments making sure they are okay, help them through problems and solve them.” Being kind is simple, it speaks to all the same, Brianna Cohen 10th grade, said, “Yes it is important to be kind because if you want to be treated with respect, you have to treat others with respect. It can be shown through tone, body language and words.”
Sometimes problems that seem so large can be resolved by small acts of kindness and genuineness in all that we do. We are born with a sense of egocentricity, and grow from an infant to a toddler then a child, later learning about empathy. Egocentricity being described on “Russ’s Web Thinking”, as the failure to view different perspectives, and displaying an all or nothing attitude,”and a lack of self-consciousness of one’s own thought processes.” But it is a constant struggle to follow such a simple life skill with the domineering hand of society urging us to be better, stronger, and get ahead . It was once said by John Di Lemme,, Founder of Di Lemme development group that is know for personal expanding, said, “We cannot sow a selfish attitude and expect to reap abundance and generosity.” He adds that two things define you: “Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.”
Isaiah Lewis, 9th grader, said, “You can be nice to someone and compliment them, say nice things and be polite like saying excuse me. Without kindness we wouldn’t have peace in the world.” Mr. Eric Pierce, WBHS Assistant Principal, said, “Kindness is going out of your way to help someone out. It is important to have relationships, give what you get and when your and, it makes people more apt to forgiveness. In a school with such diversity, being kind is big, it allows people to be able to talk to others and make relationships, help each other out in the hallway. In our world people look to kind welcoming people and faces, it is helpful to our world and I feel we should all be kind and pay it forward.” Briana Lee 12th grader said, she values kindness and she treats others how she is treated “I smile at everyone but they dont always smile back, if the world and everyone wasn’t nice, we would hate each other and kill everyone.” As a whole kindness is something felt and understood by all; it feeds relationships and is a vital component for peace.
Overall the question is, what drives your kind actions? How much do you value kindness? Tell us in the comments section below