By Makhupe Angara
Ever since childhood among the basic teachings were the etiquette and discipline, through interesting songs, poems, proverbs, and subject units in classrooms. The terms for etiquette and basic discipline for children changed with levels; kindergarten, middle, high schools, and university - but the concept remained unchanged over the years. Recently, I was invited to a women pastor’s conference and the same topics were tackled. I stopped taking notes when the speaker mentioned kindness among the other points on etiquette, and discipline. I thought about the number of times I have heard these words, first in childhood and now as a grown up; the topic is noteworthy.
But honestly how many times do we witness the absence of etiquette in our daily endeavors with people around us? A couple of times, right? But what could be the reason as to why the knowledge is often forgotten or abandoned in our daily walks?
Life in its own wholeness is a teacher and exposes us to all forms of injustice that we tend to incline ourselves toward. For instance, a bad attitude, hatred, and lies among other acts, gradually deprive the soul; erasing all the best qualities of kindness, love, and trust from our character if left unchecked. Unarming us to live with any trace of kindness at all. To some degree we become vengeful. It might be interpreted as the default position for human beings, in the bible it points to us as Christians not to repay evil for evil (1Peter 3:9 and Romans 12:9).
Kindness is too important a thing to live without. It is clearly visible to the blind person, and a language well heard and understood by the deaf. It is a simple tool to change somebody's bad day to the best day or heal someone’s heart. In the Bible it is mentioned nearly 300 times. At times it is mentioned as 'mercy' to mean good deed, compassion, favor, or kindness.
Kindness must not necessarily be the very big things we read about in books or watch in movies. For example, you need not give a large sum of money to strangers or buy an extravagant lunch for a beggar. Saying “Hello,” to a stranger and appreciating their uniqueness works better than only staring at them. Staying patient with that used newspaper and dumping it in the trashcan or recycling bin is kindness to the environment, and it is smarter that dumping it in the park. Sometimes, the people we show a kindness to can be the same people that will show us a kindness in our hour of need. We should be clear minded, willingly kind to ourselves, strangers, our families, friends, and to our environments.
- When did you feel a lack of kindness when you most needed it?
- How did you respond?
- Which doors (if any) did have your acts of kindness opened to you?