MPW4Kindness: one student's reflections on kindness

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Something I have observed about kindness is that the individual who offers the kind gesture to another is often calm and at peace. Everyone knows the value and the significance of the impact that kindness can have on those on the receiving end of it. I wonder if many people think about the effect that it has on the giver. Kindness may come from many different people from many different backgrounds. But why are people kind in the first place?

In my experience, I feel that even the smallest acts of kindness reap great rewards. The smile on a friend’s face who had previously been in a foul mood can be priceless and it leads me to think about how those who are kind create positive environments around themselves with the impact they have on others.

In the same way that some people who are unhappy at heart find it easy to inflict pain upon others or insult and demean them, I feel that those who are happy and content with themselves are able to show kindness with ease. Often, those happy, kind people are recipients of affection and goodwill themselves and so we find that kindness is like a chain or a cycle of gestures, words of support and helping hands.

However, in this current climate when all seems bleak there seems to be a surge in stories of goodwill and kindness being shown to others. Many people are bored and frustrated themselves and yet from their own homes they have made great efforts to help those in need around them and in their community. So maybe kindness doesn’t always need to come from a place of complete satisfaction and happiness.

I would like to stop and look at two events that have occurred during this period of lockdown. The first of which is the fundraising done by Thomas Moore, the WW2 veteran known better to the British public as Captain Tom. In recent weeks he has become somewhat of a hero. As a 99 year old man, falling within the high risk category for COVID-19 himself, he did laps around his garden in an effort to raise money for the NHS. However, his campaign ended up raising 30 million as opposed to the one thousand pounds originally targeted. It may not be the greatest of kind gestures but it certainly is no mean feat.

As a result he has not just helped thousands of other people but also himself as he was the greeted with an RAF flypast and made an honorary colonel of the Army Foundation College on his 100th birthday. To think that Tom could have alternatively spent the weeks running up to his 100th birthday relaxing indoors makes one realise the small sacrifice he made which led him being a hero of the British for the second time in his life.

The second event is less widely known to the public. There was an interview on The Victoria Derbyshire Show between Victoria Derbyshire and two individuals who spoke of how life is already lonely for them and how the lockdown as increased the feeling of isolation for them and was having a severe impact on their mental health.

After the interview the Victoria Derbyshire Show received many calls, emails and tweets from people requesting to contacted the interviewees and simply have a chat with them. This certainly stuck out to me, to see so many people, who themselves are also experiencing the same lockdown and suffering the many mental impacts of it, attempting to reach out to a stranger and show some kindness by simply having a friendly conversation.

I hope that when this pandemic blows over and safety measures and restrictions are lifted we as a community and as the public can continue to find room in our lives to show the kindness we are showing so much of to others right now.

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