Kindness – Gentleness – Definition of Strength and Leadership
This photograph was taken in Africa. We noticed the umbrella hat flying off and rolling into the intersection. A youngster stopped his ‘big truck’ (“bakkie”) and then stopped the traffic to collect the umbrella hat and return it to it’s owner. We see little acts of kindness like this on a daily basis in South Africa, now more than ever.
Not ever have we received more emails or statements regarding kindness than the last year. Many have stayed close to the road of kindness to survive and thrive, many have taken a different road. Confidence is required for kindness, and a cause greater than oneself is often helpful to remain focussed.
We recently received an email from the GMC (General Medical Council) regarding kindness, an email we will remember.
Kindness opens doors, starts conversations and can change the ‘hopeless’ or ‘impossible’ to ‘possible’, because kindness often leads to trust and hope, which changes the narrative and prognosis or outcome. Simple measures, simple approaches often have the most significant effects.
Our patients, children, often want to talk about what strength or success means. They often associate strength with kindness. Children often see what is most important in life.
A patient of 15 recently commented that “adults sometimes don’t see kindness as a strength, because they are afraid and they act tough, which doesn’t work, because even animals only follow calm animals, they can see through anything else”.
Quotes on kindness and gentleness:
You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force. Pubilius Syrus
Gentleness is a divine train; nothing as strong as gentleness, nothing as gentle as real strength. Ralph Sockman
He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger. Japanese saying
What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. Albert Schweitzer
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. Henry James
Leadership styles can differ in different contexts, areas or eras. We teach children by doing, not by telling. We can shape our future by focussing on our children.
What is your definition of a leader, success, power, strength, courage or wisdom?
Kindness along with these concepts are different things to different people.
Think about individuals you associate with leadership, success, strength, wisdom, courage?
Individuals who have changed history are mostly remembered as kind, gentle and smiling. Mandela liked to promote the smile; he often spoke of how important it was to smile. He had a good smile, he smiled with his eyes. He stopped to speak with people. He asked questions. He cared about the answers. He spoke of the mistakes he made, of how everyone can make mistakes, of how only the strong forgives, of how anything is possible.
It always seems impossible until it’s done. Mandela
We can all make the same positive difference in this world by how we interact with this world today and tomorrow. Almost anything important starts with kindness and gentleness. Let’s ask more of ourselves and of each other.
We have experienced the most kindness from children in the worst circumstances (we have provided narratives); they are often more calm, confident, gentle, generous and kind than any adult in a privileged context. Let’s learn from each other.
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