Posted by: JanF | September 30, 2011

Where do we learn kindness?

Today is my grandmother’s birthday.

My Memére would have been 106 years old today. I still celebrate her birthday because it is the day of the year when I feel closest to my own connections: to the earth and to those who came before me.

I think of her daily when I hear the chiming of her clock which sits on the mantel in my living room.

Technically, I suppose it is my clock but I will always think of it as Memére’s clock because it was in her house for years and its sound is tied to my memories of visits with her. Visits as a child and visits as an adult: different houses but always the same Memére ready to shower me with kindness and enclose me in the warmth of her love.

When I was thinking about my Memére this past week, I wondered about where we learn how to be kind. A grandmother’s kindness to her granddaughter might be expected but what about kindness to others? Do we show kindness because it has been shown to us? Can we pass on the good feelings from having received kindness to others by being kind to them?

To me, being a Progressive means believing that every human being is valuable and worthy of our kindness.

Be kind to someone today and if someone is kind to you, pass it on.



  1. If we learn kindness from each other, then teach someone to be kind by being kind to them.

    Have a blessed Memére’s Birthday!

  2. Beautiful. I have no living grandparents. I loved them all, but my “grumps” was special to me. He was soft spoken and always kind. A simple person with simple needs, just like me. Thank you for making me think of him, this made me smile. Peace to you, Glen

    • Thanks, Glen. I was lucky and had my grandmother for a very long time even though it never seemed long enough.

      We should remember our connections and the kindnesses that have been shown us. Then pass them on.

  3. Well said, JanF…. a simple nod of remembrance to my grandmother is affectionately encapsulated in my DK name.

    Empathy is learned early in life; if family fails to convey empathy to children, it is a missed opportunity. I and my colleagues try to repair this open wound with bandages and fortunately, children are malleable. When it takes, we rejoice in our profession and in the human spirit; when it doesn’t, we revisit the referral later.

    • Families that fail to convey empathy to their children not only miss an opportunity but they send them out into the world ill-equipped to deal with it. Only the top 1% can get by with being uncaring … the rest of us need each other and count on each other to survive. The mean and spiteful will soon find themselves alone.

      Thanks for stopping by.