Opinion: What is Kindness?
This past Friday, I encountered an opportunity to talk about kindness during my Freshmen Success class. During the past few weeks, I have come across more and more instances where 'kindness' is lacking in many of my peers' conversations. With that said, an event happened in which a specific type of people's lifestyles were being joked and laughed about and used as an example as a deal breaker for a friendship. Not only did this happen in my specific class, but I also heard it happened in other classes as well. I felt compelled to say something, but I didn't know where to start.
As a result, I used the outlet most available to me to reach as many people in our school as possible. I consulted with newspaper and asked if I could do an article on what I felt kindness really is, and what people think it is. I decided to conduct an experiment in the same class that were disrespecting people's lifestyles. I had asked my teacher beforehand, and I started writing words on the wall that were 'deal breakers' in a friendship. I went in and asked the question, "What is your definition of kindness?" I started circling words that I was, and saying, "If I am all these things, why do I deserve more love and more friends than someone that is this one thing?" It was an extremely difficult experience; I was angry, sad, and I was hurting for the people that were shoved aside and always criticized. You don't have to approve of a person's behavior to be kind to them.
Most of the people in my class had great responses, and I owe them a great deal for opening up and being receptive to what I was saying. The point of speaking out was to see that kindness is a sacrifice. Kindness isn't just being nice to someone. Kindness is looking past the outer shell someone wears and realizing we're all imperfect. Kindness is putting your ideology and morals aside to love and care for someone even though you don't agree with their lifestyle. Kindness is knowing that you don't know everything and realizing maybe this person just needs to be loved. As freshman Arden Montjoy put it, "Kindness is putting others before yourself and loving people for who they are." Because if we all went by how good a person was, or how little deal breakers we had, we would all fail.
I want to thank my friends, teacher, and God for encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and try something extremely new. I want to thank the newspaper team for being my home away from home at GMC and giving me opportunities to excel as a person and a writer. You all are wonderful, generous, and extremely kind people.