Always find a way to be kind

MSToday I want to share a secret with you that, if followed, can make your life better than you ever imagined, can improve the lives of the people around you and can, ultimately lead to world peace and prosperity. Yes, in the next five minutes I will give you the ability to do all of these things – any one of you … every one of you.

But let’s start with the Readings we hear every September at Opening Meeting for Worship. There is a common theme amongst them. Listen again to some of the words … “go out to the street”; “meet it head on”; “must win what it deserves”; “labour for the common good”; “transmit this City.” All of those words are intended to incite us to action. For Pickering is a school where we learn to think; but it means nothing if we don’t take action. As the words say, “Here thought and action meet.”

So the first thing I want you to think about is your responsibility to take action.

But what kind of action? And that’s where I want to share that secret; because it doesn’t have to be big, courageous, bold deeds and exploits and accomplishments. No, it can be much simpler than that. In fact, there is an action that each one of us can take, every day, no matter our age or ability, that can change us for the better, change the people around us for the better and ultimately lead to world peace and prosperity.

Let’s imagine a school where we were all focused on being kind to others. Imagine if every time you approached another person, you said to yourself, “I am going to be kind to this person.” Imagine if you then walked up to them and instead of saying nothing, or talking about yourself, or trying to say something mean about them or someone else you instead found a way to be kind – you did something as simple as smiling at them, or asking them how they are, or really listened to them when they talked, or helped them with a task they were working on, or complemented them, or encouraged them to do something … or thanked them.

Being kind motivates you to care; being kind makes you more receptive to others; being kind makes you more understanding of other people. And the more we show kindness to others, the more it becomes a habit. And the more kindness we show to others, the happier we become. Believe it or not, a study that has been done suggests that performing one kind act a day for 10 days can measurably increase your happiness.

So, being kind is an action any of us can take to change ourselves for the better.

Now, don’t just imagine how you would feel every time you were kind to someone. Imagine how they would feel. If you were always kind to every person you encountered, people around you would become more positive. They would respond to your kindness and go away happier and kinder as well. And imagine that if you gained a reputation for being really kind to everyone else, all the time, those people would treat you with more kindness, which would make you feel even better, and want to be more kind.

Thus, being kind is an action that any of us can take to change other people for the better.

If you think about it, kindness is at the heart of each of our school values. To be kind creates respect; to be kind makes you compassionate; to be kind demonstrates true integrity; to be kind develops a sense of self-responsibility; and to be kind ultimately builds a better community. So it isn’t a very big step to see how being kind to every person can create the conditions for a better world. If we are kinder, we are happier; if we are kinder, we are more empathetic; if we are kinder, we are more understanding; if we are kinder, we are more compassionate. If we can create a kind community at Pickering College, then the same principles can be created in widening circles in our community, in our nation and in the world. For isn’t the reason that we do not have peace right now because we are not kind enough to other people?

Thus, being kind is an action that any of us can take to create world peace and prosperity.

We all know and love the names of the four Pillars – Faith, Freedom, Friendship and Fun. But as many of you know, those Pillars once had different names. They were Wisdom, Honesty, Loyalty and … Kindness. Kindness has always had a special place at Pickering; and I believe it must remain special.

Wisdom, Honesty, Loyalty – but the greatest of these is Kindness.

So this year, let us take action. Let us take action by each treating every person we meet with kindness. Let us make this school a school that radiates kindness; let us make it a school that others look to as a beacon of light, founded in kindness. Let us each take that simple action, each day.

It will change you, it will change them, and it will change the world. It is that simple.