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World Kindness Day

By Stephen O'Rourke, Faculty of Advocates

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I only found out recently that there was such a thing as World Kindness Day – and today, 13 November 2016, is it! So happy kindness day. Here’s to being kind – and being a lawyer (if that’s not just too ironic) I of course went straight to the dictionary definition.

Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.

Then I visited the website www.kindnessuk.com and discovered lots of great things that people have done in recent years to mark World Kindness Day. I particularly liked that World Kindness Australia conducted an enormous Kindness Hug on Bondi Beach, and that Kindness Scotland put on Kind Kid Awards. The kind people at Kindness UK are particularly focused on bringing the kindness message into classrooms, which is great. We all want our children to learn to be kind and considerate – but how does a virtue like kindness fit with us, the adults? Doesn’t it sometimes seem pointless to be kind? Isn’t it better to learn that the world is unkind, and get used to it?

It is, I suppose, the fact that life is so often unjust and unkind that makes kindness such a wonderful thing when we find it in other people – particularly unexpected kindness, because, unlike Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, we cannot always depend upon the kindness of strangers. When someone shows us kindness, particularly a stranger, it’s like receiving an unexpected gift. The world seems brighter for a moment: but, like all acts of giving, it needs constant renewal or the generous spirit fades.

So just for today, my challenge to myself, and to you, is a simple one: do your good deed for the day, and then do an extra one. Be friendly, generous and considerate. Be kind.

Stephen O'Rourke, Faculty of Advocates

Stephen is an Advocate at the Scottish Bar, a mediator trained through the New York Center for Understanding in Conflict and a member of the Scottish Mediation Network. He is particularly interested in understanding based mediation.

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