20 Nov The Power of Kindness & Being Kind | Inspirational Podcasts
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Today’s podcast has been edited an adapted from “The Secret of Success; or, Finger Posts on the Highway of Life,” by John Dale, published in 1898.
ONE of the great needs of the world is more kindness — the pure, natural, unaffected kindness of the heart. There are multitudes of people who are surrounded by all the comforts that wealth can bestow, and yet they carry with them hearts empty and starving for the simple kindnesses of life — persons who would gladly exchange their pretentious grandeur for poverty and its grim bareness, if it could be cheered by the sunshine and kindness of love.
The truth is, that many good people are ashamed to show the kindness they feel. They imagine it would indicate weakness and lack of dignity to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with them that rejoice, except in a very conventional manner. They entirely overlook the esteem in which the better part of the world holds kind words and actions.
Who can estimate the influence of a kind act? It may affect an entire life, or save a soul. Someone once truly said, “Blessed are we when we give joy even, for we do not know where it will end.” Who can tell how often the memory of a simple act of kindness will cheer and soften the heart for many years hence?
One of our primary duties while here on Earth is to cultivate a kindly spirit, and seek opportunities to do good and scatter blessings. Be kind to the young, for the trials of life are before them, and in their hours of struggle and discouragement, how much they will be cheered by the bright memories of past kindnesses.
Be kind to the middle-aged, who are carrying the burdens of life in the heat of the day, for sore is their need of the soothing influences that will lessen the friction of their ceaseless work and anxiety.
Above all, be kind to the aged — those who have struggled on amid the storms of life until they have grown weary, as they approach the haven of repose; let them feel that calm skies are above them, and the sunshine of kindly natures about them.
Remember that the years are fast bringing nearer the time when you, too, shall stoop beneath the burdens of age, your pulse be slow, and your step feeble, and then how grateful to you will be those little attentions and kind words which it is now in your power to bestow on others.
Be kind, because you will pass through this world but once, and neglected opportunities will not come back to you, even should you recall them with floods of repentant tears. Be kind, in mercy to yourself, for every kind word that you utter, every kind deed that you do, will help to fill your own heart with gladness, and will afford you such unutterable satisfaction as the wealth of a Croesus could not buy, nor the dreams of ambition attain.
Every heart has its own sorrow and knows its own bitterness. And if we could look into its unexplored depths, and know how heavy is the weight of woe oftentimes hidden from human eyes, we would judge differently those infirmities of conduct which now so vex us, and should be filled with a God-like charity which would make our lives fruitful of kindly deeds.
Be kind not only to other but to all living things. There is so much waste and loss incurred by cruelty to animals. Thousands of people make themselves poorer from this cause, not realizing that it pays to be merciful, as it pays to do what is right in all things.
The individual who is truly just and merciful will carry out the principle of justice and mercy wherever they are, and will be considerate of the comfort of everything in their keeping.
What benefits there would be if all parents displayed the same wisdom in the early training of their children as did the mother of the great Unitarian minister Theodore Parker. Back in the 1800s, he once spoke of his boyhood, and the precious lesson of mercy that was taught him. He says: “I saw a little spotted turtle sunning himself in the shallow water. I lifted the stick in my hand to kill the harmless reptile. Although I had never killed any creature, I had seen other boys, out of sport, destroy birds, squirrels, and the like, and I had a disposition to follow their cruel example; but all at once something checked my little arm, and a voice within me said, clear and loud: “It is wrong.”
I held my uplifted stick in wonder at the new emotion, till the turtle had vanished from sight. I hastened home and told the tale to my mother, and asked what it was that told me it was wrong. She wiped a tear from her eye with her apron, and taking me in her arms, said: “Some people call it conscience, but I prefer to call it the voice of God in your soul. If you listen and obey, it will speak clearer and clearer, and always guide you right; but if you turn a deaf ear, or disobey, then it will fade out, little by little, and leave you all in the dark without a guide. Your life depends on heeding that voice.”
Let us always remember that no one who is cruel can claim true manhood or womanhood. Let us see our world in ever newer and fairer colors. Why are we here unless we can make some small part of humanity better by our sojourn? Let us break up these hiding-places of cruelty with which our earth abounds. Let us, if possible, unite love and mercy in our towns and cities; let us teach better those who believe performance is enhanced by the whip; let us write mercy in the woods where the wild deer runs, mercy in the air where our birds fly, and along the hardened streets of the dispossessed.
My friends, every kind act you can do for the weak and defenseless, and every kind word you say to them, will make you happier, nobler, and better; all good people will love you and respect you the more for it, and as your body grows, your heart will grow larger and richer, to bless the world.
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