By now many of you know that I am a “cable news junkie”. I’m not exactly proud of the title…nor do I want to justify the amount of time I spend consumed by whatever crisis is de riguer of the day. It’s addicting. If I’m not catching up on the latest breaking news, then I’m completely out of the loop. This isn’t true, of course, and furthermore, I believe it would be much healthier to step back and immerse myself into my own reality…something to work on!!!
OK, what has this got to do with kindness? Well, there were two stories in the news this week (you may or may not be aware of) that showed how kindness can have a positive impact on our society.
One article showed an emotional courtroom scene. A female police officer in Texas was found guilty of killing her neighbour, who she believed was in her apartment. When the brother of the victim gave his impact statement, he said he forgave the defendant, loved her as a human being and asked the judge if he could give her a hug. This is highly unusual, but the judge allowed it and what followed was quite profound. The officer ran over to the brother, fell into his arms and sobbed. This is the beginning of healing for both sides and an unbelievable act of kindness.
The judge in the case, who was very no-nonsense during the trial, also gave the police officer a hug after the verdict, as well as giving the defendant her bible. This has caused some controversy…bibles are not supposed to be in a courtroom.
I appreciate that both the brother and judge are religious and they believe this is the right thing to do (to forgive), however, put in the same circumstance I wonder if I could ever get to this place…would I be this kind…
Also, on my newsfeed this week, was the story about Ellen DeGeneres and President George Bush who were seated side by side in the team owner’s suite at the Dallas Cowboys game. The Twitter tirade started soon after questioning Ellen’s friendship with the 43rd President considering their politics couldn’t be further apart. She defended this situation by saying that although she doesn’t agree with all of the things her friends do, she chooses to concentrate on what they have in common…not on their differences. Her message was about acceptance regardless of race, gender, religion or political beliefs. This was Ellen’s reply to the negative tweets…
This is one of the most endearing stories of kindness that I have seen on the news. When the boy (Christian), on the right in this photo, saw the other boy (Connor) crying (off by himself) he went over, took his hand and walked with him into school. He did this on his own…without prompting. Connor has autism and the first day of the school year is probably difficult for him. Children with special needs are often lonely, isolated and bullied, but for these two, their differences are invisible. They have become best friends and are now inseparable. Christian could teach us all some important life lessons!
In the tribal environment we live in today, it’s easier to go off to our own corners than it is to look past our differences and be kind to each other. Can we learn something from these (cable news) stories?
***While I was out having coffee this week, I witnessed an act of kindness that also had an impact on me. There is a young handicapped woman who occasionally comes to the cafe I go to. She has a large motorized wheelchair that is awkward to manoeuvre in a tight space. Several men (also regulars at the cafe) jumped up to move tables and chairs out of her way without making her feel self-conscious. This same group of men talk politics every day (unfortunately not my politics) and often I try to cover my ears or leave early so that I don’t have to listen to them. Now that I have seen a different side of them, maybe I can become more tolerant of their views … hmmm
This weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend with friends and/or family finding the kindness that binds you together…