Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world.

Today is World Kindness Day.

According to the Gulf news “it is a day that encourages individuals to overlook boundaries, race and religion”.

A wonderful concept but one that we shouldn’t have to be prompted to do.

We’re all different but we’re all human and kindness is a human emotion which transcends culture, religion, gender and race.

So why do we treat each other so badly?

Social media is rife with hate, mainly by anonymous people who hide behind a computer screen. I found this example on Twitter.

Somebody needs to send your gelatinous useless mass to the incinerator already, you’re a waste of resources.

This was one of a few messages that were posted a disabled boy’s Twitter account. His mother deleted them before he got chance to see them. Her son died last week. As if life wasn’t hard enough, she had to put up with this.

Trolls unleash their vitriol on the world, hiding behind their computers, believing that their anonymity will protect them. I for one am glad to see that internet trolls will receive a longer jail sentence. There needs to be a deterrent that will make people think twice before spewing their hate.

Other people believe that they are entitled to offend others because it’s their ‘human right’. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Some opinions can be downright hurtful and insensitive.

I saw this comment on a post written by Hayley Goleniowska for the Huffington Post about women and the choice of whether or not to abort following an antenatal diagnosis of disability.

A commenter replied..

Further i believe (get ready for the hate mail) that if you deliberately bring a child into the world who cant cope you should pay dfor it. i see no reason why I should pay for your decision..

From a different person,

the problem is that said Kid is a burden and will always need more resources than a healthy kid. And since nowadays Downs syndrome patients live to be in their 50s that means they will eventually end up in the state’s care.

It saddens me that some people see disabled children in terms of money, not as the human beings that they are.

My child has autism. There are some who will see him as a drain on society.

These people don’t realise that Einstein, Mozart, Newton, Darwin, Michelangelo (the artist, not the turtle) and Lewis Carroll are all considered to have been on the autistic spectrum. Our world has been shaped by these amazing people!

Then there are acts of cruelty.

In 2011 a toddler known as Yue Yue was knocked down by two different vehicles on a busy street in southern China. The vehicles did not stop. Eighteen people walked by before a humble scrap-collector picked her up. She later died in hospital.

A five-year-old boy was run over by a bus in east-central China. Online footage show bystanders ignoring his mother’s pleas for help.

A heroic homeless man, stabbed after saving a woman from a knife-wielding attacker, lay dying in a pool of blood for more than an hour as nearly 25 people indifferently strolled past him.

EIGHTEEN people walked past a child who was dying!!!

How does that make you feel?

Some would argue that we live in a lawsuit society which makes people wary about being the good Samaritan. I would argue that they are losing their humanity if that’s their first thought. To walk past a child who is dying in the road is inhumane.

Thankfully, such reports are rare and the revulsion at these stories proves that most of us are still singing from the same moral hymn sheet.

Kindness should come from the heart but so often it’s not the case.

Jimmy Savile was one of Britain’s most charitable celebrities with the majority of people believing him to be a kind and caring man. We now know that his ‘kindness’ came with an agenda.

Kindness isn’t expecting something in return. It’s unconditional.

It isn’t announcing to the world that you’ve just given someone large donation of money. The most genuine altruistic acts are those which happen anonymously because it’s not motivated from self-interest. Sure, a lot of charitable people but not all are doing it for the right reasons.

The flipside is that for every act of unkindness, there are many more kind ones. Random acts of kindness which rarely make the news but they happen everyday. Ordinary people showing their fellow human beings kindness and respect. A kind word. A smile. An offer of help. Even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference to someone’s day. A smile at the right moment is capable of saving a life. To those who think kindness and compassion are irrelevant, I beg to differ.

If we went by the media alone, we’d be forgiven for thinking that the world is an unkind place but that’s not true.  It’s some of the people that live in it that are unkind but kindness is infectious and maybe all some people need is to be shown a little kindness to be able to give it back.

Small acts like buying a warm drink for someone in need, giving your seat up on the bus to expectant mothers and the elderly, telling somebody they look nice or giving your time to someone who needs you.

One act of compassion will always stay with me…

During the shocking murder of Lee Rigby, a woman risked her own safety to comfort him as he lay dying.

It was an act of pure compassion – a selfless act.

A world without kindness and compassion doesn’t bear thinking about.

Today and all days, be kind.

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

John Lennon


Photo Credit Heath Brandon