Kindness: A golden solution to society’s problemsIs there anything more important in life than being kind to fellow human beings?
By: Bernie Hughes, Superior Telegram
Is there anything more important in life than being kind to fellow human beings? Many daytime TV people today know how Ellen DeGeneres ends her daily TV show. “Be kind to people.”
A personal telephone conversation recently that brought it back with emphasis. A man I hadn’t seen for several years and didn’t know nearly as well as his father, a colleague at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, called and made this kindness point loud and clear. We put so much emphasis for our kids on becoming good at school subject matter and going out to succeed in extra-curricular sports. Winning is everything.
Should we be giving the kindness issue greater emphasis in schools?
My educational experience taught me elementary teachers do a good job of this, especially at the primary level. They know a youngster needs kindness and approval. If students don’t come to like and appreciate themselves, will they treat others kindly?
The most impressive administrative supervision experience I ever had was visiting a primary room on a Friday afternoon. Before the teacher let her bus students leave, she kneeled by the door and gave each a hug, a quick personal comment and her desire to see them Monday.
I learned something that day although I haven’t always demonstrated appropriate kindness.
I don’t remember bullying being a problem in my educational experiences of many years. It certainly is now.
What has happened? What should be happening that isn’t? Suicides are even most difficult to understand. Is revenge, for unkind treatment, a frequent motive in the recent expansion of gun shooting incidents. Maybe as the caller indicated to me, we need to put kindness much higher on our to do lists.
Have we become so enamored with competition we have lost sight of the need for kindness?
Ultimate fighting, unbelievably, has now become a popular sport where everything goes until the loser taps submission. The referee had better be quick about stopping it with choke holds.
Bigger, stronger and faster are great attributes, but how far has that gone in building enormous stadiums, unbelievably large crowds willing to pay exorbitant sums to see.
I remember, as a youngster, reading about the ancient Romans critically cited for their staged physical phenomenon that resulted in death to the losers.
Maybe we should be putting more emphasis on the Golden Rule, “Do unto others …”
Our recent 2008 financial fiasco came about with Wall Street carrying financial competition to a ridiculous extreme. Derivatives developed and widely distributed mortgages sold without safeguards; that didn’t resemble the Golden Rule in any manner, shape, or form.
How about corporations taking jobs to foreign countries for cheaper labor costs. Does profit trump patriotism and fair treatment of employees?
You can see that not treating others kindly has hurt us as a nation too.
Even President Reagan exaggerated an incident of what he cited as a welfare queen driving a Cadillac and collecting large welfare sums. The car was fiction and the money obtained was minimal with the lady being legally punished.
There was and is fraud at that level, but not to the extent welfare critics have claimed.
We can be kind and tough too. The Golden Rule makes sense for Wall Street even with their constant struggle for higher profits and extremely successful efforts to make the country safe for multimillionaires.
You know my penchant for poetry and old sayings. Maybe John Wesley was thinking of today’s topic when he wrote the following:
Do all the good you can,
In all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long, as every you can.
Some very common happenings that kindness does:
Like our snow it makes everything more beautiful.
Money will buy you a dog; kindness makes him wag his tail.
Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.