November 14, 2020
After addressing the greed that may have sparked the superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th, I found another side to this day (not based on Friday) online. World Kindness Day is an international observance on November 13th. It was started in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement and is observed in many countries around the world. Since its founding, World Kindness Day has been celebrated by schools, governments, and nations. Events include THE BIG HUG, handing out Kindness Cards, and the Global Flashmob. The Flashmob was coordinated by Orly Wahba from the US and was held in 15 countries and 33 cities. Images of the event made the big screens in New York City.
When I checked out “kindness” online, I came across a growing movement of people who define themselves as RAKtivists. This is an acronym for Random Acts of Kindness activist. The site clarified this movement as, ”Anyone who believes kindness can change the world, who reminds everyone around them how much love there is in the world, who inspires hope and generosity with their actions as much as their words—they’re a RAKtivist. And this is where RAKtivists come together to make kindness the norm.” I found it interesting that the site had trademarked key terms to keep them from being “used” by others. We obviously cannot allow others to practice kindness with out identifying as part of the group.
World Kindness Day is designed to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us in community. Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race, religion, politics, gender, and zip codes. Kindness Cards are an ongoing activity which can either be given to recognize an act of kindness or ask that an act of kindness be done. The United Nations has been approached by the peak global body, the World Kindness Movement, to have World Kindness Day officially recognized and to have its members unanimously sign a Declaration of Support for World Kindness. This has yet to occur.
Thoughts: The movie version of Pay It Forward was produced in 2000. The basic premise was how an act of kindness can be “paid forward,” and the cascading effect one act can have. The movie ends in both grief and joy. Trevor (the originator of “pay it forward”) sees a friend being bullied and steps in to help and is killed for his intervention. This is reported on television as well as the growing movement. Hundreds of people who have been touched by the movement gather at a vigil to pay Trevor their respects. It has been two decades since the first Kindness Day and the movie. Some still strive to uphold the value of doing for others. Others still believe it is all about me. Each of us needs to choose. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.