In April 2015, I enjoyed the pleasure of having breakfast with my friend, Elke Govertsen, Publisher of Mamalode. As mothers, daughters, entrepreneurs, and soul-sisters, we talked for just over an hour about stuff that really mattered to each of us. Among other conclusions to our discussion, Elke decided that Mamalode’s editorial theme for the month of June 2015 would be #Kindness.
Like clockwork, on June 1st, Mamalode announced Little Pickle Press as its theme partner and commenced running stories about kindness. Then, something almost magical happened, kindness seemed to be . . . in the air.
There was the release of the Harvard researchers’ Making Caring Common study that mapped the five child-rearing practices necessary for raising kind children.
Then, Penguin Random House partnered with Anti-Bullying Ambassadors and R.J. Palacio to launch the inaugural Kindness Day. To underscore the importance of and her commitment to kindness, Palacio wrote a compelling piece in The Guardian titled RJ Palacio: what is kindness? that is well worth your time to read in its entirety. “’We are made kind by being kind,’ wrote Eric Hoffer. ‘The more kindness we expend, the kinder we become. Practice, in the case of kindness, makes perfect.” She also highlights the evolutionary benefit to kindness as spelled out by Darwin.
That theory was reinforced in another article, Tapping Your Inner Wolf by Carl Safina, which appeared in The New York Times. In it, the Yellowstone National Park Service ranger who has studied wolves for 20 years, states, “If you watch wolves, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that perhaps no two species are more alike behaviorally than wolves and humans.” He goes on to note that the primary characteristic of alpha wolves is . . . kindness. “Strength impresses us. But kindness is what we remember best.” Indeed.
That leads me to the story of Konner Suave, the Valedictorian of East Valley High School in Yakima, WA who started an anonymous Instagram account and invested the time and energy to write a kind message to each and every one of his 657 classmates, revealing he’d done so at the closing of his Valedictorian address.
Finally, in a lengthy encyclical that is sure to have tremendous implications, Pope Francis implored the global community to address the threat posed by climate change. Why is the Pope weighing in on this issue? Because of its impact on the poorest populations, which is most of the people on earth. “A true ecological approach,” he writes, “always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” The Pope is asking us to be kind to earth and, by extension, to one another.
So, this month on the Little Pickle Press blog we are going to focus on, and continue the exploration of, kindness. Please engage with us and join the conversation.