Tag Archives: Kindness

Be kind to clerks and servers this Christmas and holiday season

My daughter worked on Black Friday at a mall near our home. She came home at the end of the shift shaking her head.

“People didn’t have to be there,” she said. “They chose to go on a day when they knew it would be crowded and there would be line-ups. Why are they snapping at me when things take a little longer?

I could write an entire post about “How is Black Friday even a thing in Canada?” but I’ll save that for another rant someday. For today my topic is “Be kind to clerks and servers.”

They don’t make much money. They don’t get paid more on busy holiday shopping days, even though the stress is far greater. While people are out “enjoying themselves” they work longer hours than usual to accommodate the increased numbers.

For goodness sake—and I mean that literally—be kind. And patient.

That’s what these holidays—Holy Days—are really all about, isn’t it?



Kindness: It just feels good

You know it. You don’t need scientific evidence to back it up.

When you treat someone else with kindness, you feel good. When someone is kind to you, you feel good. When you witness someone else being kind, it makes you feel good.

You know it. You don’t need the evidence, but scientists don’t believe anything without cold, hard numbers. So they’re finding them. Telling us something we’ve known all along. Here are two videos about their findings.

Using social media: Be kind


From @whitehouse on Twitter

Last week in the White House briefing room, Obama said, “I’m presenting a fair deal. The fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow do a ‘Jedi mind-meld’ with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.”

If you’re not a sci-fi fan, he made the mistake of mixing up Jedi (a Star Wars reference) with the Vulcan mind meld (of Star Trek fame).

I don’t know about you, but I find that kind of charming—I might have made the same mistake myself on a bad day—but social media exploded with comments.

“Obama just confused Star Trek and Star Wars by saying Jedi Mind Meld. I think it’s time to impeach.” @DepressedDarth

“Something something something sequester something economy about to tank something something HEY LOOKIE OBAMA SAID JEDIMINDMELD HAR HAR.” @scalzi

“by referring to a “Jedimindmeld,” Obama has opened himself up to charges of being a fake geek girl.” @scratchbomb

I just finished reading Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday, and the book opened my eyes to the potential of social media to cause irreparable damage very quickly. One simple mistake, one slip-up gets tweeted, re-tweeted, linked and re-linked until it spreads like wildfire around the world. In some cases, the notoriety eviscerates careers or reputations and leaves the shell of a person or business picking up broken pieces. Sadly, sometimes the information being spread across the globe is rumour or false information, damaging a person’s life for no valid reason.

Barack Obama, or probably more correctly, Barack Obama’s staff, handled this issue with humour and managed to turn the tide in his favour. Crisis averted—in this case.

Please, be kind. Don’t believe every rumour. Don’t spread every juicy piece of gossip. Think about how you would feel if you were the subject of that topic of the social media conversation—do a Jedi mind meld with them, if you will—because some day it might be you.

Darwin’s survival of the kindest

Could it be that, in natural selection, kindness trumps fast runners with big  muscles?

Some of today’s scientists are taking a new look at Charles Darwin‘s findings. They are exploring the flip side of what earlier scientists gleaned from his work. In the attached video link, Dacher Keltner of the University of California, Berkeley addresses The Centre for Compassion and Altruism and Research and Education on this topic.

According to Keltner, Herbert Spencer, who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” (it was not Darwin as many believe), and others of his time focused on the mercenary competitive self-interest part of natural selection. But Darwin’s work was about much more than which animals could run fastest, pro-create most often or grow the biggest muscles.

Darwin considered the role that compassion played in societies that succeed. He wrote that sympathy ” . . . will have increased through natural selection, for those communities, which include the greatest number of the most sympathetic members, would flourish best and rear the greatest number of offspring.”

Could it be that kindness accelerates prolific pro-creation?

Keltner also argues that scientific studies show that compassion is part of our DNA. We pass it on to our children and our children’s children.

Studies involving the human voice in communities around the world find that there is a common “vocal burst,” or sound, used to portray compassion. If you want to portray compassion, what sound do you make? I think you will find that it is the same sound that the audience for Keltner’s lecture made when spontaneously invited to do so.

Human touch also builds trust and compassion. The more a team of basketball players touch each other, the better they play.

But we are now in a “crisis of compassion”

Studies show that we are less empathetic, more materialistic and more self-involved than thirty years ago. Keltner says that we are a “touch-deprived” culture. We need more mindfulness, more contemplation, and more gentle reassuring holding of hands.

The survival of the kindest depends on it.