World Kindness Day took place this week on October 13th. Far more than a “feel-good” day to be forgotten overnight, WKD was first introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement, a coalition of international NGOs.
WKM is an international movement with no political or religious affiliations. It was created at a conference in Tokyo in 1997 when Japan brought together like-minded organizations from around the world. The mission of the WKM is to inspire individuals towards greater kindness and to connect nations to create a kinder world. Members of the movement include over 25 nations with representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Romania, Scotland, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the USA.
The Objectives of the World Kindness Movement
Obviously we can’t all rush out and adopt an orphan, or even a kitten or a puppy. But there are thousands of other ways we can show kindness to one another, and by doing so, improve our everyday lives, strengthen our relationships, and feel a sense of satisfaction and, yes, even pride.
An article in the French magazine Psychologies presented a call to action from employers and employees at every level: “We, directors, managers, employees, coaches, psychologists, call upon the players in the workplace to commit to benevolence. The benevolence of directors toward their employees, the benevolence of employees toward each other, and the benevolence of all toward their companies. We believe that benevolence, kindness and economic performance are indissociable. The future of our companies depends upon our professional skills, but also upon our personal skills. We want to engage in reflection and dialogue about the benefits of benevolence with our colleagues and our social partners in order to envision together the realistic and concrete actions we might progressively put in place to improve the following themes:
- To give meaning to the work of every employee
- To enhance the quality of our relationships to better live in harmony
- To keep watch over the well-being of every individual”
How the Movement is Spreading
The movement has taken hold, and acts of kindness, from the mundane to the glorious, are occurring on a daily basis around the world. Schools across the globe are now celebrating World Kindness Day and work with local NGOs such as the Be Kind People Project and Life Vest Inside in the USA. At the request of the Chairman of World Kindness Australia, World Kindness Day was placed on the Federal School Calendar and the then Minister of School Education, Early Childhood, and Youth The Hon Peter Garrett, provided a Declaration of Support for World Kindness Australia and placed World Kindness Day on the National School Calendar for over 9000 schools.
Following the elections at the London 7th General Assembly in 2012, the kindness torch was passed from Singapore to Australia for the first time, when Australia was appointed as the organization’s Secretariat. In 2014, Australia was reelected to serve a second term with the expectation to implement the global strategies developed to bring about positive change whereby all nations of the world can be united under a “Coalition of the Good-willing”. The current members of WKM’s International Council strive to inspire its members and our world leaders, in the hope that the vision of a kinder world can be realized in our lifetime.
Kindness Given is Kindness Received
Kindness is a fundamental part of the human condition which bridges the divides of race religion, politics, gender and geography.
From Ellen DeGeneres to the Dalai Lama, people of every stripe know that kindness is the key to a happy life. Ellen says, “I stand for honestly, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated, and helping those in need. To me those are traditional values.”
And the great man himself, the Dalai Lama has these simple but life-changing words to say: ““This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple. The philosophy is kindness.”