– Mark Twain
Over the weekend, there was a report in the newspaper stating a headline from an article in the Seattle Times, ‘Kindness taught in Seattle school’s online class.’ As course leader Andy Smallman says, “The purpose of this ‘class’ is to have fun while being kind, to see how being kind to others is actually being kind to ourselves, and to start ripples of kindness that will be felt in faraway places.”
You may be curious to know what is taught in the class. According to the newspaper report by Richard Hartung (a consultant living in Singapore since 1992), there are no exams or grades – just homework. Like, do something kind for someone we love and then do something for someone we don’t know. I would like to call it enlisting people into a kindness movement by getting them to consciously perform act of kindness for their loved ones and even for people they do not know.
As Richard says, “Kindness – the ripple with no end.” Indeed, the ripples generate from the act of kindness will travel far and wide; they will go on to affect many others from where they first start. However, the ripples on the surface of the water in a lake will stop if the factor generating the ripples stop. Like the rain stops falling on the lake or someone stops throwing stone into it.
Like the water ripples, the kindness ripples will stop too if we stop being kind. Therefore, we must continue to perform act of kindness in order for the kindness ripples to continue.
Richard asked a question, “Does a kind act here or there really make a difference?” I believe that no matter how small a kind act may be, it will go on to create ripples; it will always make a difference. As Dilbert creator Scott Adams put it more simply, “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Not only that, as stated in the newspaper report, “Thinkers from Confucius to Dalai Lama as well as research from the US National Institutes of Health and many other sources all cite benefits to both giver and receiver.” We don’t need to be a genius like Albert Einstein to understand that; who has not felt good from being kind to loved ones and to strangers?
A water ripple that hits a wall before it disappears may bounce back to its source, depending on the strength of the ripple and how far the wall is. However, a kindness ripple generated will propagate and eventually but surely, it will go back to its source.
Let us take the time today to generate a kindness ripple through a small act of kindness, which will surely bring happiness to the life of others and to yourself.
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” – Og Mandino
Photo credit: mrhayata
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Hi BK – I love that Mark Twain quote .. actually the idea of ripples – it’s amazing where they go. Just a smile, open a door, a positive reply rather than a negative one .. a thank you – yes let’s have ripples of love all around .. sewing seeds of happiness ..
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..The Middle Ages of the web – ancient pathways, monastic steps, St David yesterday, St Chad today and lines of communication … =-.
@ Hilary, you are absolutely right; being kind can be that simple: a smile, holding the door for someone and even a simple thank you. Yes! Lets have ripples of love all around.
This is such a great post – and what a great class to teach! The ‘homework’ sounds fantastic. I love what he said about it: “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” This is something that’s important to remember, especially when you might feel frustrated if something you do isn’t acknowledged (I must admit I do feel that way sometimes, though I try not to).
@ Penny, good to see you here again. That quote by Dilbert creator Scott Adams really makes a lot of sense. We can never know how big a difference a small act of kindness may create. I think we should focus on doing good and the rest will take care of itself. It is only human that we will feel frustration if something we have done do not get acknowledgment but we will get better.
I think that this whole concept is great, and oh so very true. When someone does something kind for you out of nowhere, it does brighten your attitude and causes you to want to be kind and more giving to others in turn. Teaching children to do that is key and so important, because if they never learn this concept, they can’t pass it on to their own when they become adults.
Like Penny, I too sometimes feel frustrated or not appreciated when I think that the things I do from my heart and from special efforts get no response. But then, there always comes someone from out of the blue who says or does something nice, or let’s you know that your effort didn’t go unnoticed, and then that feeling just disappears! One person manages to say “thank you” and “you are appreciated” for all the rest who didn’t. Sometimes that’s all we need! 😉
.-= The Fitness Diva´s last blog ..Top of the Drops! =-.
That would be a wonderful class and should be required for everyone.
.-= Pam´s last blog ..College, Here We Come! =-.
The effect of kindness is a gamble in my mind.
When you are not prepared to take the risk of wasted kindness, don’t complain.
However, kindness is normally coming back to you from unknown directions, so they say.
I only wonder, why we encounter less kindness, when we grow older. Everybody almost is kind with a cute puppy but, not with an older dog. At least, this is what I notice on Tenerife Island.
Also, I do not think that the finding of goodness towards the elderly is exactly related to the good deeds done by them.
Anyway, to teach kindness in schools online or offline is of utmost importance for the functioning of a healthy society.
Always a pleasure to stop by and read your words of inspiration and it would be so nice if we were able to treat everyone with kindness.
.-= Jude´s last blog ..I’m A Dysfunctional Socializer =-.
Kindness only perpetuates MORE kindness. And you never know how YOUR random act of kindness will spread to others!
PS: – I love that Mark Twain quote!!
.-= meleah rebeccah´s last blog ..My Favorite Blog Post(s) And My Favorite Photo(s) =-.
@ The Fitness Diva, you are right; when someone do something good for us, it’ll just inspire us to want to do something good for another too. And you touch on one key thing to do to propagate kindness and that is to teach our young ones or maybe we can say leading by example. That will surely influence our young ones to be kind to others too. Children see, children do. It is perfectly human to feel frustrated when we do not get acknowledgment for what we do. What we need to focus on is to give from our heart and not to expect anything in return; where there is no expectation, there wouldn’t be disappointment and frustration. I agree with you that most time people are not look for something in return but rather a simple ‘thank you.’
@ Pam, may be a good idea for everyone to go through the class and yet we know that anything being forced into another may have a reverse effect and put off the person. The deed of kindness must come from within and cannot be ‘forced’ onto. What we can hope to do is to inspire kindness through being kind to our loved ones and to even people we do not know.
@ Gabriele, I agree with you on that point, especially for people who may feel that their kindness will be wasted. As what Barbara De Angelis said, “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.” A kind act would come back – may not be from the same person but it’ll surely come back.
On the point that you made on why we encounter less kindness when we grow older, pardon me, I do not have an answer for you. This is something which most may observe that some people are kinder to young offspring like puppy, kitten etc. And yet most will also observe the grow of love when they see their puppy or kitten growing up. Thus I am guessing that it may not have anything to do with age but rather if we spend time with the person in the first place. When we spend time with the person and through understanding, we will form a connection with the person.
I do think that a lesson in school to inspire our young ones to be kind to others is important. More so is how we are treating others. Our young ones will be watching us.
@ Jude, it will surely be great if we can treat everyone with kindness. Let us be the generator of that kindness ripple first and it will propagate itself. Thank you for always stopping by. It is always a pleasure to have you here.
@ Meleah, you said it simply and best, “Kindness only perpetuates MORE kindness. And you never know how YOUR random act of kindness will spread to others!”
The concept of kindness is wonderful and the ripple effect is outstanding .This is a magnificent Post BK …I belief in kindness even to those I do not know 🙂
.-= Fatima Da´s last blog ..Stay Motivated! Not With the Way I feel Right Now =-.
@ Fatima, if more people believe in kindness even to those they do not know, then it’ll definitely be a much better world. 🙂
Kindness does have a positive vibe on everyone around. It really has the capacity to make one feel good about oneself, especially, the doer of the act. Acts of kindness in turn makes the receiver feel acknowledged, wanted and loved, which probably could be a major reason behind the ripple effect. It is contagious!
A nice post, made a good read, especially, the quotes.
.-= Sweetness´s last blog ..How Hoopoe and I got Introduced? =-.
I love this post today! It is so true. Kindness begets kindness and the ripple goes on and on until someone stops the cycle. But it eventually finds it’s way back to the original source.
There’s some great commercial on about that, although I think it’s for a soft drink company or something. But still it’s true.
We all need to teach the children of the world about kindness so they can be leaders of the future.
.-= One of The Guys´s last blog ..Stream of Consciousness =-.
@ Sweetness, you are absolutely right that kindness can positively influence everyone and contagious too.
@ One of the Guys, interesting; I have not seen that commercial yet. The best way of teaching the children to be kind to others is through leading by example. Starting from ourselves, we can generate ripples that can go on and on.
I’m a true believer in acts of kindness. Not only is there a ripple effect, but it takes us beyond looking at just ourselves and gets us focused on looking outward to make a difference. I love the quote about treating everyone as you would if they going to die soon. That really puts things into perspective.
.-= Tina t´s last blog ..5 Signs That He Won’t Marry You =-.
Beautiful, BK. I love that kindness is being taught in schools. I was just thinking about something similar recently. Much of what’s taught in school is for the left brain and appeals more to equipping us with skills in order to secure reasonably productive work. I studied philosophy and theology and even then, kindness and love are tackled on a mostly cerebral level. I actually think there should be kindness and love classes for adults. I think children take to these languages more quickly whereas adults, overtime as they get pummelled through life, run the risk of forgetting them.
@ Tina, you are right, it takes us beyond looking at just ourselves and gets us focused on looking outward to make a difference.
@ Belinda, I agree with you that adults need the class more than children since adults are the one who will directly and indirectly influence the children. Children on the other hand take to being kind more natural and adults can further reinforce being kind by leading in example. School has a part to play too, not only do they need to equip children with skills for productive work, they need to strengthen the character of the children too. That will benefit the society much more and create much less social problems in the long run.
Very touching post. A kind heart is a compassionate heart. This is a very important post in times like these when everyone needs to develop this virtue. This only can heal our earth. God bless you for this wonderful post.
.-= Pratishtha´s last blog ..Finding inner freedom =-.
@ Pratishtha, thank you for your kind comment. Kindness and compassion are indeed virtues that are very important at all time.
Hi, BK. I’m glad to have found your lovely site! Something about the kindness class jumped out at me and I notice no one commented on it in quite the way it struck me. It seems to me the GREATEST effect of the class is that it will help the student feel within THEMSELVES the same effects of the kindness they extend to others. THIS ripple effect is the greater one, because it is the starting point for achieving a continual state of unconscious kindness. In this way, one person can become completely transformed into being kind all the time no matter the circumstance simply because it feels so incredibly wonderful to BE that way. Whether anyone else is aware enough to RECEIVE the kindness becomes secondary. It’s in the GIVING that the greatest gift is felt. …creating a perpetual desire for continued giving. Everyone gains, but the REASON for it is vastly different.
.-= Julie´s last blog ..Life Changes =-.
Wow! I am so pleased to see others talking about our class.
looove the mark twain quote. cute blog, you have here. 🙂
@ Julie, you made a great point: GREATEST effect of the class is that it will help the student feel within THEMSELVES the same effects of the kindness they extend to others. I believe from being kindly consciously, eventually one will be kind unconsciously and that is when one is transformed into a kind and compassionate person; kindness has become a habit and there is no other way of living except to be kind to others. And to be just kind for the sake of being kind because one wants to and not because one is expecting anything in return. This is my greatest hope. Yes, it is in the giving. “Unconditional Love – it is in the giving that one makes others realised.”
@ Andy, it is truly my pleasure and honour to have you here. The ripples create by kindness really do travel far and wide and one will never know when and where it’ll come back. Thank you for making a difference.
@ Christina, thank you. Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂
One kinds deed, action, though leads to another…and another–a real chain reaction! It is the small things that have great power here too–a smile, helping someone with a heavy load, a kind word… Last month I was doing 29 Gifts–a challenge of giving every single day–what a rewarding journey! Lovingkindness is the secret to the good life! :o) Happy weekend, BK ((HUGS))
.-= Tracy´s last blog ..A Still Life =-.
@ Tracy, I absolutely agree with you; small things like a smile, helping someone with a heavy load, a kind word etc make a great deal of difference. And yet these are the things which people do not bother to show or say. Happy weekend to you too Tracy.
Very cool Mark Twain quote at the beginning. I like the teachers concept. Reminds me of the movie “Pay it Forward.” Little kindnesses can go a long way. I often don’t think about being kind, but it’s a very good notion to keep locked away in the back of the mind. Thanks for the reminder!
.-= Ben´s last blog ..Cambodia Motorcycle Diary #4 =-.
@ Ben, I was reminded of the “Pay it Forward” concept too.
I completely agree in the ripple effect. I think we are able to sleep better knowing we have been kind and also when others are kind to us. I know I have lost sleep over spats with friends/family when they have said or done very unkind things. I’ve always teased my husband for being able to fall asleep in 1.3 seconds. He’s always said ‘those who fall asleep quickly have a clear conscience.” lol So true!
.-= ~Melody @ 6 Feet Over~´s last blog ..#23 ~ Melody’s attempt to be short and sweet … =-.
@ Melody, you are right, spats with friends/family could cause us to lose sleep. And I totally agree with what your husband said, “those who fall asleep quickly have a clear conscience.” 🙂