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13 November is World Kindness day. A day to be kind all year long

This date was chosen by an NGO, not by the U.N. nor a government, but we hope it will inspire more positive actions than an official recurring event.

Dedicating a day to kindness is an interesting and careless idea with heavy consequences. Hopefully, at least. Because this word can inspire positive feelings and useful discussions, mostly if we think about how many big personalities have interpreted it.

The Dalai Lama, 1989 Nobel peace prize winner, encourages people to adopt a “policy of kindness”

There’s also a defining book of this state of being, On kindness, by Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor. Italian songwriter Claudio Baglioni said that “kindness is revolutionary”, while Anne Herbert wrote in the Whole Earth Review in the spring of 1995, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty”.

 

Kindness, on second thoughts, is quite rooted in history

The Jewish concept of mitzvah, for example, is used to suggest a good or kind action. While the caffè sospeso or pending coffee, a cup of coffee paid for in advance, is a tradition begun in Naples as an anonymous act of charity.

 

But today, thanks to social media, kindness is shown in new different ways and it infects, influences and turns into something better everything it touches. In 2006 on YouTube the Free Hugs Campaign (that today has been seen 77 million times) was a big success. The BBC in 2008 supported the One Million Random Acts of Kindness Campaign (RAK). The hosts of an Australian show boradcast on Channel 9 identified the “heroes of kindness” and rewarded them. A photo of New York’s police officer Lawrence DePrimo giving a pair of boots to a barefoot homeless man became viral in 2012 and the #FeedtheDeed campaign started in February 2014 has inspired more than 10,000 acts of kindness throughout the world.

 

The National Kindness Day was proclaimed by the World Kindness Movement, which was established in Tokyo in 1988 and successfully landed in America and then it was spread to about thirty countries. In Italy it is based in Parma since 2000.

 

According to Cristina Milani, founder of the NGO Gentletude and vice president of the World Kindness Movement, “being kind today means care about other people and of everything surrounding us, the environment and animals. It’s being open to others, instead of being individualist and presumptuous as many people are nowadays. If we keep calm we’re more clear headed, we manage anger, we’ve high levels of serotonin and we live happily”.

 

The ten commandments of modern kindness

  1. Listen: try to live in harmony with other people: listen to them and be patient
  2. Smile:be open to everyone: hail, thank and smile often
  3. Reason:let the wrongs you have suffered roll right off your back and don’t surrender to rage, just reason
  4. Respect diversity, diversity is a treasure
  5. Share:don’t be protective with what you know: communicate and share it as much as possible
  6. Don’t pollute:our Planet is just one: respect it and don’t pollute it
  7. Reuse and reducewaste as much as you can: recycle, reuse, repair
  8. Eat seasonal and local products
  9. Protect animals: don’t abuse and abandon them
  10. Live ethically: live with other human beings and pets ethically, don’t make them suffer.

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