Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) movement in Sunday's newspaper. I have to say that I have been thinking about her column on and off for the last couple of days. Something just doesn't sit right with me.
On one hand, I think RAOK are beautiful. How marvellous it is that someone who can help, does. There are numerous examples on websites devoted to the topic, and indeed from Sarah's column. Like the random who donates $560 so that a primary school can keep their support teacher until the end of term and a boy with a behaviour problem isn't expelled. Or the random who pays for your coffee in your local cafe. It is a good thing these people are doing. Good, kind people, helping others.
It is reported that being kind is good for your health.
It is reported that being kind makes you feel happy.
It is reported that being kind is good for your self-esteem.
And that's where it all gets a bit 'ick' for me. By definition, "kind" means:
1. having a generous or friendly nature or attitude
2. helpful to others or to another
3. considerate or humane
(Collins English Dictionary- Australian Edition, p854)
I don't think it should be about me and how it makes me feel.
I think a genuine RAOK shouldn't need to be reported on a website or documented on your blog or newspaper column.
It is about helping others. Maybe others that we perceive are worse off than we are or maybe just helping because there is a situation where you have the skills that the situation needs. A benefit may well be that it is good for our health or our sanity, but it really shouldn't be the reason that we do the deed.
It shouldn't be another 'thing on the list' to tick off so that we can sleep at night knowing we are good people.
It shouldn't be another quick fix conscience clearer while we go about our normal, self-absorbed lives.
And it sure as hell shouldn't come with a 'kindness card' requesting that you "play it forward".
There is just something so wrong about commercialising a simple human gesture like kindness.
On that note, I would like to thank Jane from Me n' my Monkeys for my "Cherry on Top Award - for beautiful blogs with that little bit extra". Jane is another Aussie Mummy Blogger who is working it with her words and her camera. She is pretty new to the blogging world, so head over and say hello.