The Act of Kindess

So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1855-1919

The door bell rings. Its Saturday 8 a.m. It’s a Thanksgiving weekend. A gentleman stands at the door and hands over an item which we had lost recently. He finds it and wants to make sure we get it before the holiday weekend.

This gentleman, we shall call him Sean, was leaving town for the long weekend. But his thoughts and concerns were with our family. He wanted the item delivered to our house personally. We were very impressed and touched by Sean’s total selfless gesture.

Today, we want to express our gratitude to Sean for his kindness, thoughtfulness, and his generosity in stopping by at our house. He made our Thanksgiving weekend very special – it had a real meaning to it. I am sure Sean felt the same way.

This act of kindness also brought in me a sense of guilt and made me examine my own acts gone by. Have I been kind enough to make a difference in somebody’s life? Is there somebody out there who feels I have been unfair or unkind? In my own heart, is there a gap between perception and reality on what kindness means?

Nobody is perfect. So I must be guilty of some unkindness. We all have our share of mistakes, misjudgments and acts of stupidity. But in the end the question is – do we really care about others to make a difference in their lives?

Sir Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) said, “Men are cruel, but man is kind.” We just have to look at the world around us. On one hand there is death and destruction and on the other hand there is kindness and generosity. It is hard to believe men can be so cruel and still be so kind.

As a physician, the obligation of being kind is even more important. Canadian Medical Association’s Code of Ethics says that physician’s ethic of service is characterized by the values of:

-beneficence (quality of being kind, charitable, or beneficial),
-nonmaleficence (do no harm),
-respect for persons and

Each day and during a physician’s lifetime of practice, he will see many patients and do numerous tests and procedures. By the law of averages, somebody is going to have complications and somebody is going to by unhappy. Somebody is going to feel that a physician is uncaring and unkind. It is impossible to satisfy everybody.

Does that mean we give up on being kind? No. An act of kindness does not always end in a win-win situation. But majority of the time it should and it does. Sean’s act of kindness is one example. And that is very encouraging. Just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs!

Thank you, Sean! Keep up the good work.


Thought for the week:

“An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband.” – Booth Tarkington (1869-1964).

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