When the world’s deepest thinkers agree – from religious leaders and philosophers to scientists from many disciplines – there is good reason to listen. Kindness Connects brings together ideas and impulses that are motivate our fellow humans. For example:
‘Pay it Forward’ stimulates people to spontaneously perform a random act of kindness for a stranger – someone you don’t even know and who hasn’t done anything for you. Originally voiced a century ago by Lily Hardy Hammond (she wrote in her book In the Garden of Delight “You don’t pay love back; you pay it forward.”) it means that instead of returning a favour (‘paying it back’) you do good for its own sake – and feel all the better for doing so.
World Kindness Day (13th November) inspires people to imagine what the world would be like if each of us did one kind thing for someone else – whether greeting a stranger with a smile or giving a small gift card to a pregnant woman so she can buy something for her baby. The idea takes its cue from the common thread of kindness that binds us all, highlighting good deeds performed in every continent.
In the UK two doctors came up with this idea. Their aim: to encourage those working for the NHS – and those who use it – to make the NHS better by pledging to do something different. Last year, 189,000 people took part by making a pledge online. This year the aim is to get 500,000 pledges.
- Dr Damian Roland, a paediatrician at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, realised that the medicines he routinely prescribed to his child patients tasted very unpleasant, pledged to work with his pharmacy to try to improve their taste.
- A GP spent a day in a wheelchair so as to better understand disabled patients;
- Pollyanna Jones, a manager at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, helps dementia patients eat their lunch;
- Molly Kavanagh, who works in paediatrics in the East of England, created a storyboard that helps children with autism better understand the treatment they will receive;
- Stuart Poynor, chief executive of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent NHS Trust, visits patients who don’t have any other visitors;
- Midwife Lesley Chan runs sign-language training to help colleagues communicate with children and adults who are unable to hear.