Back in 1985 the great Feargal Sharkey said “a good heart these days is hard to find” and 20 years later, it’s fair to say the statement still rings true.
Now I’m not heading down the life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” road ala Hobbes, but we need only look at recent events in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and on our own streets to see that hatred and intolerance are prevalent in modern society.
They always have been, of course, we just tend to notice it a lot more now that we have rolling news coverage and social media to keep us informed 24/7.
That’s why it’s so important that we remember that there is good in the world too. You need only look for it, or you can create it yourself. The phrase “be the change you wish to see in the world” is rolled out far too often for it to have any real meaning in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still valid.
The simplest act of kindness can make a world of difference to someone.
Take for instance the little girl sitting beside you at the ballet (You got free tickets, you’re not that cultured). She’s about three years old, is fascinated by The Nutrcracker, but utterly TERRIFIED of the dancers dressed as mice. “Not real, just people. Not real, just people” she chants over and over and over until the lights come up for the interval.
At this point the couple beside you is tutting as the little girl’s grandmother attempts to keep both her and her sister satisfied. “Did you like all the dancing?” you politely interject. “I’m scared of the mice” she replies loudly, hiding behind the seat.
“Shall we pretend to be cats then? And scare them off?” The words are out of your mouth before you’ve even really thought this through.
Twenty minutes later you’ve miaowed in your seat, used your hands to make cat ears and created a monster. The little girl is still jumping up and down making her own cat ears as the Sugarplum Fairy does her thing, crawling beneath her seat and miaowing every now and again.
And yet, she’s a very happy little girl. Her grandmother says you’ve made her night. And funnily enough, the smile on that little girl’s face has made yours. You’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Who cares if you’re 25?
Grand gestures are well and good but the simplest random act of kindness can have the greatest impact. That’s why events like Powering Kindness Week are so important.
If you’re not familiar with the concept here’s the official blurb from the Powering Kindness website:
Every year, for one week only we ask people to track and record all the kindness they experience here on our site. During Powering Kindness Week 2015, you can dedicate what you do or the kindness you encounter to Childline, The Irish Heart Foundation or The Marie Keating Foundation.
As well as submitting your kindness here on our website, you can also post directly to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed. Just make sure you include the hashtag #poweringkindness and the handle of your chosen charity (@Irishheart_ie, @ISPCCChildline or @MarieKeating) to make it count!
The more people Powering Kindness for a charity; the greater the share of our €130,000 fund they’ll earn.
We can’t all be nice all the time and sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind, but in the right measure. Either way, a very wise lady once told me that it’s our initial intention that matters. There’s a marked difference between those who set out to be cruel to others and those who unintentionally cause pain.
So what better time to intentionally do good than between now and January 23rd? God knows this time of year can be fierce miserable.
A good heart these days IS hard to find, but that doesn’t mean good reliable people aren’t out there. Chances are you’ll come across them when you least expect it.