Perhaps, everyone has already heard about the so-called ‘modern heroes’ that schools and the social media glorify. There’s the cab driver who returned a huge lump sum of money to the business. There’s the boy who saved children from drowning. There’s another one who saved stranded animals from the flood. Add those medical students who randomly save sick people or assist moms giving birth on the streets, or even on a plane flying mid-air.
Perhaps you are overwhelmed by these deeds. Or maybe you have already asked yourselves these: Do I need to be a doctor to save lives? Do I need to go to calamity-stricken places just to show my kindness? Do I need to be a full grown-up to help people? Do I need someone to post my good deeds on the internet?
The answer? It’s a simple ‘no.’ Dr. Julia Breur, LMFT, says, “Inauthentic people often judge others as a way of gaining control. Be careful, because some people may use kindness to try to control you.”
Definition of Kindness
Try looking up the word ‘Kindness’ on any search engines or dictionary, and it will give you the following similar words: friendly, gentle, considerate, helpful, respectful, and generous among others. Kindness, in its general sense, only means doing something kind to other people. This deed doesn’t need to be extravagant. It doesn’t need to be loud. It just needs to give a positive feeling for both parties.
For Ilene Berns-Zare PsyD, “Hope and kindness are two character strengths that can invigorate our awareness. Hope, or future-mindedness, involves expecting a good future and working to achieve it. Kindness is care, generosity, and compassion for others.”
‘Kindness’ doesn’t entail that the doer of the action should expect something in return. Showing someone your ‘kindness’ will never be your ticket to get a high score on an upcoming exam. Displaying ‘kindness’ in front of teachers will never guarantee you a gold medal in graduation. The act of kindness is never a request for some Divine Being to grant your wishes in mind.
No matter how young you may be, you can manifest appreciation and kindness anywhere. A school is a ‘mini community’ that can be considered a perfect replica of the real world. You, even as a student, may not even realize that what you just did this morning is already an act of kindness.
Below is a small list of gestures in school that you may not have realized yet is a simple definition of kindness:
- Opening the door for teachers, classmates, or for those behind you
- Greeting school staff, janitors, and canteen vendors a pleasant morning
- Shooting waste correctly into the trash bins
- Following simple hallway signs (No loitering, Silence please, No vandalizing)
- Falling in any lines properly
- Sharing vacant seats from your table in the cafeteria
- Taking good care of school property (following proper computer care, not tearing and folding pages of books from the library, etc.)
- Keeping the toilet clean for the next user
- Not participating in any bullying
- Doing small favors for your classmates (sharing notes and references, doing group studies)
A deed of kindness doesn’t need to be posted on different social sites or even shared on a counseling platform, shared in every stranger chat as much as it doesn’t need to be photo-shared by millions and become viral. Maybe you should try it right now, greet schoolmates in the hallways, smile at unfamiliar students in the cafeteria, or offer younger pupils old notes for reference. Never wait for something in return. A returned smile from your newly found friends will surely be enough.
“Make a stranger smile with an act of kindness. Even the smallest gesture can mean a great deal to someone in need. So, always try to do your part and help make the world a kinder place.” – Mariana Pascha, Psychologist.