Random Acts of Kindness
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” - Princess Diana
The average human lifespan is shockingly and frighteningly short. Humans may have been around for 200,000 years and scientists estimate that life in some form, will continue for another 1.5 billion years, but what about you? Assuming you live to be 80, you’ll have about 4,000 weeks.
Of course, many scientists believe that the person who will live to 150 has already been born so hopefully we’ll all enjoy a little longer before we ‘shuffle off this mortal coil’. If you live to be 122, you’ll get about 6,344 weeks.
I say this not to depress you but to encourage you to see your time as precious. There is a wonderful book by the philosopher and sociologist Oliver Burkeman called ‘Four Thousand Weeks’ that isn’t a treaty on the importance of being more productive. It isn’t about filling your time with stuff, more stuff and more business. It’s about embracing the idea that we have limited time and therefore it is important to use it wisely doing the things that really matter.
When I think about the things that really matter- I think about the phrase, ‘Only Connect’ the epigraph to EM Forster’s novels that many see as a dictum for life. One of our most important jobs as humans on this earth is to connect with others and that phrase resonates with me.
Acts of kindness are one of the easiest and most important ways for us to connect with others.
Many of you will be familiar with Charlie Mackesy’s book ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.’ This quiet picture book with a message of empathy and self-care became something of a publishing phenomenon during lockdown and I spoke to the school and wrote about it in November 2021. The book contains many pearls of wisdom. One of which I am reminded of every day, when I walk through the Chapel Quad on the way to my office, where an enlarged copy of the page is displayed on one of the notice boards:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Kind” said the boy.
What a fantastic and achievable ambition.
You will never be the cleverest person in the room, but it is within your power to be the nicest" - The Secret Barrister
Warwick pupils should play a positive role in the world. Thinking of others, putting them first. Kindness is one way to play a positive role in the world. Sometimes we forget how easy it is to be kind.
Yesterday, Thursday, 17 February was Random Act of Kindness Day. This initiative began in 1995 in America and has spread across the world. It reminds us of the importance of connecting with others by just doing something nice. Here are a few suggestions from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation:
- Write a thank you note – handwritten!
- Compliment a stranger
- Let the person behind you in a queue go ahead of you
- Sit next to someone who is sitting alone at lunch
- Tell someone what a good friend they are to you
- Anonymously donate to charity
As is now tradition, the last day of the half term was non-uniform day to raise funds for a chosen charity, on this occasion the Sir Stanley Matthews Foundation which works with a shared love of football to improve the lives of underprivileged young people in Africa and England. On Wednesday Josh and Seva presented on the charity in a whole school assembly. They also advertised the supporting fund-raising activities they initiated. One of which, a raffle had at the time of writing raised more than two and a half thousand pounds for the cause.
One strand of the Warwick Way is the responsibility to create a better world around us. It is always inspiring to see young people fulfilling this duty.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." - Aesop
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” - Dalai Lama
Kindness and charity are two ways we can all connect with others and enrich both our own and their precious but short time on earth. Kindness really matters; it is impactful and achievable; a wise use of your 4,000 weeks and it shouldn’t be limited to one day or even one day a half term. Commit to doing one small act of kindness every day and we can help to make kindness the norm.
Mr J Barker and Mrs K Wyatt