When was the last time you experienced the impact of receiving or giving kindness?
Of the many things that will be remembered in the aftermath of 2020, the moments of warmth and kindness will surely be some of the brightest ones.
Part of the reason for developing the OMERS Community page was to share stories of people helping through the pandemic. Acts of kindness aren’t strictly a pandemic phenomenon, but perhaps they have taken on a new significance.
This point was reinforced recently by an OMERS colleague who was walking with her twin boys by their local fire station “We were looking through the window at the trucks when a firefighter came out and talked to the twins. He then gave them each a paper fire truck. It made their day and was such a happy moment in an otherwise sometimes trying time.”
And it’s not all about the getting. Early in the pandemic, another colleague mentioned during a call that she was busy that evening as part of a community volunteer group who were doing grocery runs for people who were unable to get out for themselves. For her, helping others helped her navigate the uncertainty. ‘I was acutely aware at the start of the pandemic and lockdown how lucky I was, and I was so humbled by this in the face of what so many others were going through. Being able to support vulnerable members of my community with grocery shopping, prescription collections and sometimes just to be a friendly face (or voice on the phone) was a way I could give back.’
Earlier this year, during Mental Health Awareness Week, the U.K. focused their efforts around kindness. In explaining why, the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said, “We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health. Wisdom from every culture across history recognises that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practise to be fully alive.”
In the face of fear, uncertainty, and isolation it is all too easy to give in to frustration. Maybe we have an opportunity to strengthen our community and develop greater solidarity.
And it starts with a simple act of kindness.