Kindness 101; By John Fadder

I was reading over my daughter’s letter to Santa the other day. On it, like most five year olds she had listed all the things she wanted for Christmas. There were dolls she wanted and games she would like to play. What struck me the most what that she had signed it off by saying, “It is really cold outside Santa so keep warm. Have a safe flight.”

I was struck by the genuine compassion of these words. It seemed rather deep for a five year old but then again, perhaps care for others isn’t something we are taught. Maybe it is something we have naturally have towards our fellow human beings but lose sight of it as we become cynical adults.

If someone I didn’t know were to walk up to me and tell me they wished me well I would find it strange. I would probably assume they were after something. No one is just nice for the sake of being nice. Right?

All that sort of thinking does is make people less likely to be kind.

Not so long ago my wife and I were taking our daughter to a restaurant for dinner. Something kid friendly. Nothing fancy.

Outside the restaurant an old man stopped my daughter and starting to chat to her. It was on a very busy public street. I had a tight grip on my daughter. There was no immediate danger and yet still the natural instincts of the parent is to keep your progeny away from strangers.

Despite being treated rather coldly and with mistrust by the adults in the group the old man still made my daughter laugh and went on his way. I’m not saying that caution shouldn’t be exercised with strangers around children but it did give me cause to think of why I would be so on my guard when my daughter was in no immediate harm. I just hope my reaction didn’t put the old man making other’s laugh. The dangerous world we live in shouldn’t mean we can’t be friendly and kind to one another.

As young children we are taught to share and to be nice to everyone. Where do these basic lessons get lost? Somewhere along the awkward teen years?

I’m going to take a cue from my five year old and start paying more consideration to others. We get so wrapped up in our own lives few people visit their elderly neighbours or call up those they haven’t spoken to in a while to see how they are.

Maybe you don’t believe in Santa anymore but you can still believe in the kindness he insipres.

All the best for 2018.

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