I was recently watching two eighteen month old babies play. One, a feisty, quick-tempered little girl, and showing early signs of being a ‘good leader’. (bossy, ok?) The other, a quieter boy, but into everything and constantly on a mission. Constantly.
These two little bodies were charging around the garden, racing from this bush to that hole to the sandpit and back to the bush…
On one particular leg of the race, en route to an empty laundry basket (a fascinating toy for a pre-toddler), the baby boy took a tumble and fell onto his bum. The girl, who had been two steps ahead in the race, stopped and looked back to see what had happened to her playmate.
Seeing her friend on his rear, looking about confused and dazed, she waddled back to him, bent over and took his hand in her own and she helped him up. And off they went together.
Eighteen months old.
They can’t even pronounce the word ‘kindness’, let alone understand the concept… and yet… they understand it so much more deeply than so many of us grown-ups.
Oh I know, they don’t know how to share and they hit each other over the head with sandpit spades… But at the heart of it, when one recognized that the other was down-and-out, nothing else mattered in that moment but to stop everything and offer a hand.
And that is such a sincere, raw form of kindness that our culture is lacking. We are too busy. We have a goal. We have deadlines. We have errands. We have personal agendas. We have our own race to run.
Kindness is selfless. Being selfless sometimes requires a sacrifice, which is something we are seldom willing to commit to.
That is the heart of it.
‘Once you conquer your selfish self, all your darkness will change to Light.’ ~Rumi