I once taught healthy living techniques to adjudicated teenage girls who lived together in a group home. One girl, Diamond, came up to me after our weekly meeting, and said “I’m getting out next week and am going back to my family. But please don’t tell any of the other girls that, because they will do their best to get me into trouble so that I have to stay here longer.” This was about the saddest thing I ever heard, the girls sabotaging each other and ultimately themselves by creating an atmosphere of nastiness and distrust.

The next week Diamond had left and in our meeting we were talking about how we would change ourselves to make our lives better. I took the opportunity to look at them all, one by one, full in the eyes, and said that kindness was the most important thing in life, that giving kindness to others would create so much more kindness coming back to them. And, that it was my sincerest wish that they would all practice kindness during the coming week, even when not feeling the person kindness was directed toward deserved it. They took it in with attention and solemnity. I hope it helped some in their difficult circumstances.

Why is kindness such a hard thing to learn? It seems as though it should be inborn. This is why forgiveness is so important when kindness doesn’t come as expected. We can only teach love when we return kindness in the face of callousness and even cruelty.


2 thoughts on “Kindness

  1. i guess, to look at it another way, we are born with a lot of baggage to ‘unpack’ throughout our lives – this is the great fun, the challenge, the work! – so that our natural understanding of how the universe works, how natural kindness is, becomes obscured. our work is to peel away everything that obscures us from these foundational truths …


    • I think you’re right. The first step for these girls was to make them aware of another possibility. There was, for most of them, stress in the family where they were living prior to adjudication, and on top was added the stress of the group home itself, lack of positive role models, boredom, sadness about missing friends from home and often very poor self-image. There was another girl who was always angry but loved words and wanted to be a poet. We bonded a little and I hope she has found her way. There was no follow up opportunity available for us, for many reasons, so we could only hope to have made a difference. I always viewed this work as a blessing to make up for all the heartache I’ve caused others. I guess causing heartache is part of the human condition. And what we cause unknowingly may be of greater import than that we remember. I hope you are doing well, that is happy and fulfilled. I left something on my blog called Best Friends or something similar. It might be on airticket45 or on tomwelch1, I don’t remember (wordpress). The last line says, what we want we must also offer, so the offer is open.


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