Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘kindness’

Son, Mother, Friend. Thoughts on NZ

I cannot understand. I don’t want to understnd. That is the sort of think sympathetic people say when someone has slipped up – oh, I understand. No, I do not understand. There is no understanding hate.

I sat in church on Sunday and listened to the prayers for the people senselessly killed, for their loved ones, for their community, for their country. I looked around: Heads bowed, people reverent, and I counted. 1, 2, 3, 34, 35, 42, 43… 49. I was sitting in the back of the church and 49 was everyone in the front half of the church. everyone in the congregation, all the choir, the clergy. All of them? They were praying. praying.

I couldn’t understand.

Then I thought of who they are. My neighbours, my friends, my former student, my son – my son was singing in the choir. I couldn’t understand.

I can’t understand.

I walked this morning back to the church, and inside, up by the alter, in the wall is a memorial to a child. It is unmarked and centuries old, but I couldn’t stop looking at it and thinking of the unbelievable hole that loss makes.

And I thought of my own children.

I cannot imagine.

Fear, sadness, desolation must not win. Flowers and candles, symbols, yes, but more than that – teaching love and living tolerance, protecting one another; these are things we need. Talk about why hate is wrong. Talk about how to show kindness. Help one another notice the good in each other and to cultivate this. Do something good. The world needs more random acts of kindness, and more than random – we need always acts of kindness.


As a featured image I chose the image I took when walking to the sea this morning of two old friends on the bench. I aspire to this.

The baby on the train

I travelled a lot by train during the past two days as I went from south to north of the country and back again. The six trains were fine, and besides being vehicles of transportation, they were vehicles for a window into humanity. I saw some beautiful people. Actually there were so many beautiful people and kind people, and people loving their special people that I was really struck and pleased to be part of this thing called humanity. It gave me hope in a time when, if allowed or directed in a certain way, there is so much noise and hatred being spewed into the public arena.

I am not advocating hiding one’s head and putting on the headphones to block out the big wide world, but I was reminded of phrases and images, and I’d like you to indulge me in a short story of the people opposite me on the first train.

Firstly, she was a beautiful baby. Full of sunshine and absolutely not demanding anything from anyone else, but sat next to her mother and softly sang. She was singing. My first thought was, oh, how I wish I was so comfortable and felt ‘allowed’ to just sing. They I thought, hey, why can’t people just sing? Society? Convention? Baggage of the past? I still must believe deep down that some of those walls are real. Letting go takes time. Back to the story:

This lovely child sang, and what did the parents do?

They smiled and they joined in. Both of the parents joined in. They sang little nursery rhyme songs and later they softly sang full songs and the baby joined in on long notes when she caught on to the structure of the song. It was absolutely joyful.

I smiled and said she was beautiful and how lucky she was to have a mummy and daddy who sang with her.

The freedom of learning to express with music and to be so supported. There is far deeper meaning and transference than just a baby singing. There is a message about learning, an instrumental or musical vocabulary, about confidence and motivation, and about community.

I am reminded of words and the images they invoke:

We the people

1000 lights

laughter spreads

sing out

We are not without voice, we are not without purpose, people are not without love for one another. For me, part of humanity is celebrating those we spend our time with along the way, in our everyday journeys.

By the third train I saw this sign:

and on the fourth train, when I noticed amazing people I told them so. On the fifth train were two beautiful women. I told them so. When they got off two stops later, they were smiling and laughing and they thanked me again and wished me well. None of the other passengers had spoken, except to check directions with whoever they were already with. On the sixth train I smiled at the baby across the way. He waved back. The man opposite sighed loudly and took two headache pills. The baby and I smiled. The baby gave everyone smiles even though few smiled back.

Be the one who takes the risk to smile back.

kindness: please add more

I’ve been wondering what to write about for a while now, and this isn’t a fancy post, but I feel the need to add some kindness today.

Saturday, driving home from spending the day at the university doing the department open day talks, there was a young mum carrying two small children (one on each hip) who was walking by the side of the road, alongside a farmer’s field. There was no pavement or sidewalk and the children were wiggly. I initially drove by and thought, oh that’s tough. I remember carrying two smalls… I turned around and drove back to her, rolled down the window, and asked if she needed help and if she had far to go. (the two small children were both walking now and that wasn’t a good thing on a busy back road.) She said they were just going to the next drive at the end of the field, but was so pleased that I had asked/offered to help her.

It took seconds of my time and nearly no effort.

There is still room for kindness and trust in people in our world.