The Flipside of Kindness is a compassionate kick in the pants

Why should anyone care about what you do? It is a kindness to leave you alone. Your parents can be unkind – “When are you getting married? Your neighbor can be unkind, “You really ought to fertilize that place, maybe sow some rye grass this fall.” Your friends can be unkind in so many ways. “Man, what’s the use of reading all those books? Nobody’s going to let you . . . and whatever you are studying for, they will tell you it can’t be done.” At the same time, they think they are just helping you see the truth about life. All these things are stock storylines in various television and movie scripts. But they illustrate the point that being nosy is not being kind. Marching in the street because someone told you there is inequality and unfairness will not help you either. The world is full of people who will tell you to do what they do, but what they offer is criticism, not kindness.

Let me try.

The person who should be the most kind to you is you. The sooner you realize that the sooner you can move forward.

There is only one way for you to get ahead, especially if you are from a poor family or even middle-class,  work for it. It will take time, but work hard and keep your mouth shut.  Everyone, even the richest, has problems. Whining about yours contributes nothing. Getting even with the rich, or someone of another race, or with two heads, or whatever inequality, is foolish.

Saying that is a kindness. People who are nice to you, who smile, act very politely, and wish you well are not necessarily kind people. They are nice people, for the most part, and are not paying any attention to you, nor do they care about you unless you are right in front of them. Being nice will get them what they want but being nice is not being kind. Maybe because you are kind, you will carry their groceries or something like that. Nice is a temporary thing. They might even tip you, the deal is done. They were nice, you did something for them, they bought you off. But they are not kind. Kindness comes from that spiritual part of the human being. It is part of who we are, who we make of ourselves, and what creed we follow. Kindness instinctively points us toward other people. Kind people want to be generous with others and being rewarded, thanked or praised is of no account. We love people whether they love us or not. Besides, there is nothing other than people that will as effectively interact. If you are holding out for intelligent life from another galaxy, stop.

On the other hand, kindness is unlike niceness because sometimes it is like a kick in the seat of the pants. If someone who knows, shows you that you do not know, that is a kindness. It will do nothing for your ego. But, often that kind of kindness sets you on an adventure to find out just how little you know. The adventure is learning to know. To push yourself toward truth is to be kind, and the push may be a hard shove. Being nice about what you do not know will not accomplish that.

Taking opportunities to be kind, displays love and affection. It is a heavenly power that helps others see that love conquers. Love is not weak, it is strong. Kindness may simply be to provide well for your family, love them, and be in the position to help others. What good have you done if you join others in solidarity and togetherness to tear down the lives of people you dislike. Do you hurt others because you feel weak?  Joining others to protest, carry snarky sounding posters, call people names or riot and harm; what sort of kindness is that? What kind of strength is that? It is not the strength of character, it is the strength of coyotes, a troop of monkeys, a cowardly hooded midnight cross burning. It is unkind.

Young people will decry their nation’s wars on foreign soil, but wage war at home against people who live in their neighborhood. Those are two contradictory ideas. Neither works well.

There are some truths that are self-evident. One of them is that harming other people, no matter how righteous your cause is not the way to win anything. Winning a war makes it necessary to win the peace. Look back at what winning World War II meant for America. We had to rebuild, along with our allies, all of Europe, and Japan. Who will rebuild, Milwaukee, Portland, Seattle, and New York?  How will the protestor repair the damage they have done to their neighborhood? Their neighbors have no reason to return anything but fear, hatred, disdain, and the desire to make those who caused their loss pay for it.

You on the other hand have the ability and the courage to be kind. Leave the crowd to their own mania. Make a life plan and execute it well. Become educated, be a thinking individual, you do not need a movement to make your life count. Be smart, be courageous, learn to love yourself. To make your life strong, meaningful, be kind.


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