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Kindness 101

Perhaps a smart place to start a post on kindness would be a definition: Kindness, according to the Oxford Dictionary is "the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate." Another definition of kindness is "acts that help others with no expectation of return." This is a good beginning.

Around Christmas, especially in North America, kindness comes into focus as holiday spirit. We buy toys for children, we donate to the Salvation Army, or we contribute to local food banks. I would like to argue for an emphasis on kindness all year round. It seems easy to be kind at Christmas, although if you work in retail, you would probably debate this. My stance is thus: everyone can use kindness all day, every day.

I am blessed enough to be surrounded by exceptionally considerate family and friends. They support me, financially and otherwise, according to my needs and requests. If it were not for these people, I would be homeless, probably unmedicated, and living a poor quality life. These individuals see me as a person and imagine themselves in my situation, mentally ill, almost unable to work, and struggling to feed myself and pay rent. It is important to note here that our provincial government aid in the form of AISH is greatly appreciated and not overlooked. It takes a village.

Imagine a world where everyone put themselves in the life-spaces of those whose struggles are different than theirs... A world where compassion for others was the rule rather than the exception. This earth is not beyond our reach. I would like to add that not all forms of kindness need be financial. We can offer each other listening ears, friendship, gratitude and even prayer.

Far be it from me to critique the Christmas season. It is an important time of year for many, and rightly so. But in my opinion, the human race could benefit so much more if we put kindness into practice every day. I would like to thank, with sincere and heart-felt gratitude, those people in my life who have helped me in so many ways, and continue to. You know who you are.

Be kind.

Joshua Wiebe

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