Where do we learn kindness? We learn it bit by bit as we see people in our environment practice it. I don’t remember any example of kindness at school, so I must not have learned it there. No memory comes to mind of early kindness, but surely it was there. It was practiced in my home. I saw it there. My father was a kind man.

He was a man who felt injustice strongly. He taught me empathy and kindness. He told stories from his work and was always able to put himself into another person’s shoes. Looking at another person’s side of things is a very important skill. I’ve seen so many instances where someone couldn’t put themselves into another person’s shoes. We should all try to learn to do this.

When I saw the picture of the drowned boy, I felt my heart break because that little boy had a mother and a grandmother, and other family. But I personally identify with the mother and the grandmother because I am both. What horrible conditions would lead someone to think that the sea would be safer than the land? I cannot even imagine.

I can tolerate many conditions if I am safe, have shelter, and food to eat. I know if I have these basic things, I can put up with a lot of external circumstance that many would find intolerable. What was it his parent’s didn’t have that they risked the trip? The grief invoked by this image is overwhelming.

I try to be conscious of my actions so that I practice kindness every day in my home and other places that I frequent. My circle of influence is very small physically. I have to believe that kindness ripples out like water disturbed by a stone penetrating its surface. The tiny waves go out and touch things we cannot imagine. This is the only way I can live in this world.

Here is the overwhelming image. Look if you dare.


About Mary T Kincaid

Writer of fiction and non-fiction for children of all ages. Love the mental age where the rules of logic are suspended and there is a willingness to enter the story world no matter what your physical age.

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Steve Porter
Qualities such as kindness, tenderness, and compassion can definitely be displayed and learned from, and without such opportunities these ideas rarely exist. In too many instances these traits are seen as signs of weakness and get drummed out of being. Cruelty can be taught as well. It sometimes depends upon your circumstances. In some cases there is no room for kindness because you are too busy just trying to survive. I was fortunate enough to see it displayed a lot in the household I grew up in, but I also had many opportunity to practice it with my friends. I… Read more »