With The Intention To Be Kind

There is so much in this speech by George Saunders to the 2013 graduates at a university in America I find it difficult to pull out a segment to give you a taster. This morning the theme of kindness came to the fore.

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.
Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.

Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth?

Those who were kindest to you, I bet.

It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.

Now, the million-dollar question: What’s our problem? Why aren’t we kinder?

And the answer he came up with is both surprising and not surprising. There is so much basic, kindly, wisdom through out the speech. More about this chaps writing and see a video of him talking.

With a hat-tip to Steve B. who linked to this article on a Facebook page.

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One thought on “With The Intention To Be Kind”

  1. Sound advice. I confess I was a little short just now with an unsolicited phone call: changing providers seems to reset caller preferences! But that got me thinking about the meaning(s) of kindness, charity, caritas, agape, metta and so on, all sharing something yet not quite equivalent. I hasten to add that I do not dwell on this too much, but just do what the situation calls for. I have a special liking for the KJV of 1611, so allow me to quote a part:

    1 Corinthians 13
    (King James Version)

    “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

    And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

    And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

    Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

    Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

    Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

    Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

    Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

    For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

    But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

    And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

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