During our life times we retain memories of times when people have been cruel or unpleasant towards us and those times can often fester and become troublesome recollections that are difficult to erase.
But memories of times when people have shown kindness, often unexpectedly, are the memories that we can treasure; they are the memories (to coin a phrase) that ‘warm our hearts’.
These two differing memories – of kindness and indifference (or cruelty) are commonly experienced in childhood, when our learning blocks are the experiences we have on a day-to-day basis.
When we, as adults, come across a situation where we feel we can either offer some kindly words or alternately blurt out a sarcastic or hurtful comment, it is perhaps wise to keep in mind our childhood experiences and, even when dealing with adults, choose the kindness path.
The same goes for actions.
I hold memories of a cruel and nasty teacher in whose class I spent a year at the age of eight or nine. So many decades have passed since then, but I am unable to get the unpleasant ‘taste’ of her words and actions out of my memory bank. The mere thought of her can make me shudder.
And yet, I also possess memories of times when people have shown remarkable kindness towards me and those memories do, indeed, ‘warm my heart’, even to the point of threatening to bring a tear of thankfulness to my eye!
I have been reading Anne Manne’s small memoir, “So This is Life” in which she tells a little story of how a woman offered kindly advice to her and her sisters, when the advice could have easily been dished out in a disparaging and quite scathing tone. It is a memory that Anne holds dear, while also accepting that the woman involved probably didn’t even give her comments a second thought.
That’s how easy it is!
I am not hopping on the “Random Acts of Kindness” wagon, that has reached plague proportions so much so that it is almost losing its relevance.
However, I am trying to promote the idea that we should remember the times we experienced kindness as a young person and how it affected us. And that, as grown-ups, nothing much has changed: We still thrive on kind words and deeds and shrivel up when we receive the opposite.