The kindness of others

“Kindness is, or ought to be like background radiation, ever-present in our lives. The main and most effective way we learn about kindness is to experience the kindness of others. It seems obvious, after all children who are treated with affection are more likely to grow up to be kind than those whose parents are emotionally neglectful or abusive. It is not enough for kindness to be taught as a clinical skill, to be used in the taking of a medical history, the personal care of an elderly patient or in counselling. We need institutions and cultures where people are kind to each other, where kindness is valued and nurtured in everything we do. Unless we are routinely subject to the kindness of others we will have little kindness to share ourselves. The kindness of others sustains our own.”