It’s week 3 of the kindness challenge. This week’s challenge was to radiate kindness. Although I often do it anyhow, I made a special point this week of smiling at people when I walked down the street. I spent an hour or so walking around downtown last week–I was trying to find my car, which had been towed. Did you know that Wacker Drive has a north, south, east and west? Anyhow, as I tried to find my car, which was not in a lot but on a strip of pavement, I saw a lot of people. I especially saw a lot of homeless people. I made a point of looking them in the eye, if they were willing, and saying a friendly hello. (It also was a good distraction from being upset about my car. I swear there was no no parking notice when I parked–the whole block was filled with cars when I arrived).
I read an article this week in Renewal, which is the journal of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. The title is, “A Question of Character: Resume skills or eulogy virtues” by David Sloan. Apparently David Brooks wrote an article about this in the New York times last year. I would say that kindness is one of those eulogy virtues, for sure. In the article, David S talks about how education used to address character and now American education is starting to return to that. He talks about education in ancient Greece, where they valued “arete,” which is “inadequately rendered as “the paramount virtue–divinely imbued, all around excellence.” He also writes about Parzival who makes many mistakes and wanders and fights for years before he can return again to where his journey (more or less) began, the Grail castle where he can ask that healing question that makes him the king of the grail, “What ails thee?”
These qualities, including kindness can take a long time and a lot of work, or at least consciousness, to develop. But they are well worth it. Resume skills are, of course, important. But these “eulogy virtues” are, too.
It makes me think of the Yiddish word, “mensch,” which means a person of integrity and honor. A true human being.
Rudolf Steiner said:
Children who live in an atmosphere of love and warmth, and who have around them truly good examples to imitate, are living in their proper element.
—Rudolf Steiner, The Education of the Child
This is so true and truly important. Especially for the children. But all living things thrive in an atmosphere of love and warmth. AKA kindness, although it has many other names as well.
So I thank all of you for stopping by.
And thanks to Niki for this lovely challenge.
Warmth and love until we meet again.