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By Oscar E V Fernando
Kindness is essentially a quality of being friendly, generous and considerate; it may also be shown as affection, gentleness, warmth, concern and care. All these are characteristics that one individual can demonstrate to another, and are significantly derivatives of LOVE.
What really is the meaning of love, very much in use and abuse in society?
We say that a couple is in love-but with a little pause we know that most of these couples do hypnotize each other and live in a world of make believe before marriage and when they have to tackle problems that need sacrifice, this love flies through the window and the world of make believe they had earlier crash and tumble!
If kindness is a derivation of love, then obviously it requires sacrifice before it is extended to another; also loving another implies that we must love ourselves to love another-an admonishment we have heard-to love thy neighbor-as thy self. Does it not follow that firstly you must have a measure of kindness within and, for you to, outpour it to another?
It is the general perception that a kind person must have a pleasant disposition and a concern for others-not seen in persons afflicted with additions and have enmities towards the world and so hate themselves.
People who are kind and loving do not hesitate to help those in need of help, as over their years of formation they have picked up essentials of kindness and the thought of helping another comes naturally to them-they do not feel apathetic to make the necessary sacrifice to help.
Being kind needs courage, strength and sacrifice to go out of the way to bring a smile to another’s face-to give up that afternoon nap to inquire in to the crying of a helpless child-to pet that kitten meowing at your door step for some food: the list is unlimited in this selfish world reeling away to get the best for oneself and seek only one’s comfort and ease!
Kindness is a voluntary use of one’s time, talent and resources to better the lives of others-like helping a person in need to be hospitalized after a vehicle accident and is left on the roadside to bleed away: this needs perhaps postponing your luncheon appointment to come to his need and also perhaps the prospect of cleaning up the car upholstery: a person with no awareness of kind behavior will ever stop and make a sacrifice for that bleeding stranger and walk with him that extra mile.
This is what the Noble Peace Prize Winner Albert Schweitzer Says in his book: “Reverence for Life”- Everyone must work to live, but the purpose of life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others. Only then that we ourselves become true human beings.
As the concept of kindness in practice is very wide, this writer will make a pause to continue thereafter with a series of missives covering kindness sympathy empathy, tenderness in the family, classroom, society and later in business life-leaving a thought with the reader to ponder as to what the purpose of life is, if it is not to fill that void within with kindness, love, concern for one’s own neighbor!
Oscar E V Fernando 23rd November 2019 (Profile of the Writer-Accountant by profession, was Director Finance/Sri Lanka Foundation, Human Rights Commission/Television Training Institute/Member Board of Management SLF/Human Rights Task Force.
Retired in 1969 and thereafter earned an Honors Diploma in Journalism from the London School of Journalism. Now an Octogenarian plus)