When I first heard of ‘Kindness Week’, I chuckled a bit because I thought it was pathetic (in its strictest sense). Maybe I’m a pessimist when it comes to these sorts of things, but I really thought it was contemptibly inadequate.
Kindness Week had it’s inception seven years ago in Ottawa. It is the “flagship event” of an initiative called ‘Kind Ottawa’, who, as their site claims, is a “vibrant movement in [the] community, encouraging people to ‘choose to be kind’ ” (http://kindottawa.ca/about-2/).
The main reason I find it’s necessary to be critical is due to the fact that I was under the assumption that kindness was a basic value which was supposed to be taught by our parents. If not parents, then certainly in early childhood education. Money is spent towards initiatives which encourages people to ‘choose to be kind.’ Money which could and should be spent elsewhere.
Scrolling through the site, I found a long list of supporters and sponsors. Among them are Ottawa’s political leaders, small companies, schools. According to them, it is only because of these supporters who ’employ their resources, experience and enthusiasm [which] bring Kindness Week to life in Ottawa.’ Commendable. Very much so, I guess.
Kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is a trait even secular society values to some extent, perhaps not to the extent of altruism or complete sacrifice (see what the researchers from Université de Montreal and University of Ottawa wrote about Bl. Mother Teresa’s altruism).
What happens at the end, is that the root problem remains unaddressed.
What happens at the end is that politicians can add one more event to their list of accomplishment for social change.
What happens at the end is that each individual is let off the hook, relieved of responsibility for practicing kindness each day.
Tell me what’s wrong with this picture?